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For medalists, new attention is a little hairy

Olympic gold medalists in ice dance Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue pose for photos with their medals as they are welcomed home by fans and family at the airport in London, Ontario.

GEOFF ROBINS/The Canadian Press

It was supposed to be a simple haircut. Then the fans descended and the cameras started clicking.

Gold-medalist Jon Montgomery better get used to it: Medal-winning Olympic athletes returning home this week are learning to strike a balance between their normal lives and their new-found fame.

The affable Mr. Montgomery is not one to shy away from attention. He posed for pictures and chatted with fans after his haircut in Calgary on Tuesday.

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But he understands his race from obscurity to gold-plated celebrity means a trip to the barber is now a clip of a different colour.

"If I've got a plan and I'm pro-active about things and make sure I'm organized, then, just like everybody, I'm sure I'll have enough time to myself and be able to do the things that I want and the things I need to do," the 30-year-old skeleton racer said.

Tuesday's to-do list included taking the car in to be serviced and picking up groceries, not to mention taming his unruly hair.

But Mr. Montgomery also returned to the everyday task of figuring out how to finance his passion. It once involved working as a car salesman in the summer and being a car auctioneer on weekends.

Now, he hopes funding and sponsorships will be his ticket. And that means deciding on an agent and linking himself with companies.

"I've got to be a quick study," he said. "I think more things will open up to me, more opportunities. It can't help but be a benefit to my life."

Elsewhere, newly minted medalists don't have time to relish Olympic glory for long. They are making a quick stop at home before disappearing again into the world of competition.

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Golden ice-dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were home in London, Ont., and nearby Ilderton Tuesday evening for a visit with family and friends before they begin training for the World Figure Skating Championships later this month in Turin, Italy.

Moguls skier and silver medalist Jennifer Heil didn't even have a chance to go home to Montreal after the Olympics. She flew straight to Japan, the first of five more stops on this season's circuit.

When she returns, she will run a girls ski camp in Alberta, and visit schools in Montreal and Alberta, before heading off on a month-long vacation.

"My life doesn't really have a normal," she said with a laugh. "It kind of goes in waves."

But some athletes, like bobsleigh gold-medalist Kaillie Humphries, have completed their seasons and can take time off to relish their Olympic wins before a return to routine.

After landing in Calgary on Monday and enjoying the celebration at the airport, Ms. Humphries went for a sushi dinner with her husband and called it an early night. She and teammate Heather Moyse are heading to Las Vegas for a holiday late this month.

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After that, Ms. Humphries, 24, has to figure out how to support her training. She held down a part-time job as a customer service representative at Shaw Communications last year, and may have to ask for a spot again if sponsorship and funding don't finance her as a full-time athlete.

"I'm going to try to sort myself out, just kind of have a bit of a me-time for about a month," she said.

"At the start of April, I have to figure out where I'm going and what I can do."

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