'I wasn't sure I wanted to accept the gold'

Steven Bradbury has provided a unique insight into his mental struggles after winning an accidental gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The speedskater created one of the most remarkable moments in Australian sporting history when he capitalised on some carnage in front of him to win gold in Salt Lake City.

In the final of the 1000m short track individual event, Bradbury was dead last heading around the final bend.

However a crazy chain reaction saw all four of his rivals wipe each other out with just metres left in the race, allowing Bradbury to cruise over the line in first place - the Southern Hemisphere's first gold medal in Winter Olympics history.

What an unbelievable moment. Image: Getty

Bradbury raised his arms in half triumph-half bewilderment as the world went crazy over the barely believable outcome.

But with the PyeongChang Games just days away, Bradbury has revealed how he was almost too embarrassed to get up on the podium and accept his unlikely gold.

"I wasn’t sure if I wanted to accept the gold medal under those circumstances," Bradbury wrote for Players Voice.

"At the time, going out there and standing up on top of the podium just didn’t feel right.

The medal ceremony. Image: Getty

"I think if I was to do it again today, I’d go out there and I’d accept the gold medal but I wouldn’t stand up on the top of the podium.

"I’d just make the guy come around to the side and put it on me and stay off the podium."

However Bradbury said the 14 years of blood, sweat and tears that he'd put into winning that gold medal made him come to his senses.

"After I had a few quiet moments to myself, I decided I’d take the medal, not for that race itself, but for the 14 years of hard work in the lead-up to that race.

"It just didn’t sit comfortably with me at that point, and if you see me at the medal ceremony, you can see that.

"But all of those feelings were pretty quickly diminished when they started to play the Aussie national anthem, and there were 16,000 people in that stadium.

"For me, it didn’t feel like there was anybody else there, and that was when I was really able to enjoy the gold medal for the first time."

Bradbury also opened up about how his 2002 gold medal came eight years after he was actually favourite to win one.

"I was actually the favourite for the individual event back in 1994 ... but I was taken out by another skater in the first round of the competition and was left sitting there on the ice thinking, 'this is bull***'."

"I would obviously have preferred to have won when I was the best in the world, but that’s not the way it turned out.

"Do I believe that if you do right by others, if you work really hard at what you do, then karma comes into play at some point? Yeah, I do."

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