Le May Doan inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame along with 1972 Team Canada Summit Series winners

Catriona Le May Doan is enjoying not being in the final throes of preparing for an Olympic Games.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist in speed skating recalled Wednesday how she felt just weeks out from the most important competition of her life and she is relieved to be out of it as the 2006 Games approach.

"It feels so good," Le May Doan said prior to her induction into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. "I think now as each year is passing and now that we're four months from a Games, I'm realizing how much stress there is."

Le May Doan became the first Canadian to successfully defend her Olympic gold medal when she won the 500 metres in Salt Lake City in 2002, following her gold in Nagano, Japan, in 1998.

"In Salt Lake City, there was an extreme amount of pressure because I was carrying the flag, nobody had defended before, so now it's hitting me, how much pressure there was," she said. "I don't think I was aware of it then.

"I'm just, in a way, so thankful I don't have to deal with it."

She held the Olympic, world and World Cup titles in 2002 and her world record in the 500 metres still stands.

Le May Doan was the lone woman inducted in Canada's Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday in a class that included cyclists Steve Bauer and Curt Harnett, former major league pitcher Claude Raymond, former Toronto Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, the 1972 Canadian team that won the Summit Series against the Soviet Union, and veteran journalist George Gross.

Doan, who was named The Canadian Press female athlete of the year three times during her career, retired from speed skating in 2003. She and her husband Bart had their first child, a daughter named Greta, the following year.

The 34-year-old from Saskatoon will be going to the Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, but not with her skates as she'll be part of a broadcast team providing commentary for both long and short-track speed skating.

But once a competitor, always a competitor and Le May Doan says she'll probably compare the winning times in her distances in Turin to how she might have done if she was still racing. She'll also be watching to see how her world record of 37.22 seconds holds up.

"I'd love it to stay through the Olympics, but I hate saying that because I know it will go some day," Le May Doan said. "But I would love to keep it for another year."

As a television commentator, Le May Doan says she'll have to be neutral, but knows that will be difficult when former teammate Jeremy Wotherspoon is racing.

He was favoured to win gold in the men's 500 in Salt Lake City, but tripped and fell. Le May Doan knew how he felt because she did the same in the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

"I'll be talking about his race, but inside, I'll be so nervous," she said.

Le May Doan broke out the long blades once this fall to do a workout with the national team and give advice to the other Olympic hopefuls.

"I want to be out there more only because the speed skaters laughs at how small my legs have gotten," she laughed.