Photo credits : Canadian Olympic Committee / Hudson’s Bay / Journal Métro / Photo courtesy of Joseph Polossifakis / Radio-Canada
Olympic Games: Rio 2016
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Q. Tell us about one memorable moment from your Olympic Games?
A. “My parents were chosen to inaugurate Canada Olympic House in Rio on the first day of the Games with the governor general of Canada and his wife. The primary use of the house is to welcome members of the Canadian Olympic Team, their families and friends throughout the Games. It was a very beautiful moment that I will always remember!” (Photo of this moment in the header/bottom left).
Q. Do you have any funny stories from the Olympic Games?
A. “We were a large group of athletes from Canada (around 30-40 athletes) at a local bar near the Athletes Village (after our competitions of course). A DJ was mixing music that night and the bar was packed with locals. One of the Canadian athletes managed to convince the DJ of the evening to turn off the music so that all Canadians in the room could sing Canada’s national anthem together to get the evening off to a good start. The DJ agreed. He turned off the music so we could sing along and all the locals listened to us sing along to Canada’s national anthem in the bar. It was a very unique, funny moment and a memory that I will remember forever. It was a very unifying moment! I felt proud to be Canadian and happy to be a part of that Olympic spirit. Local Brazilian customers loved it too!”
Q. Do you have any ritual before a competition?
A. “The evening before my competition, I take the time to visualize my entire morning routine and specific match scenarios. I imagine myself performing actions well, outsmarting opponents with specific actions and seeing how I would react if I received hits against me, etc. I try to go through as many scenarios as possible that might arise the next day. It helps me better manage my stress and execution of my movements during my competition day.”
Q. How do you deal with victory and defeat?
A. “I have learned over time that you have to try to react the same way to winning and losing. You should not stay too fixated on the result for too long (whether it is positive or negative). You always have to try to learn from a win and a loss to get even better next time. Unfortunately, in my experience, you often learn a lot more from a loss than a victory, and that’s why losing is necessary to improve.”
Q. How did you react this year when you found out that you were not qualified for the Tokyo Games?
A. “It was very difficult at first, but I’ve been through that disappointment in 2012. I had better tools to handle this situation this time around. I told myself that I had done everything to try to qualify while still having a full time job, which is rare when you are an athlete. It was a very taxing Olympic cycle, both physically and mentally.”
What was your personal journey in accepting this news?
A. “I was proud of my career and I learned not to link my identity or my perception of myself to just a result or a qualification. We must rather appreciate all the progress that is made when we pursue this result or this qualification. Overall I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish over the past few years and I am more fulfilled and a stronger person than at the start of the Olympic cycle.”
Q. Is there a new challenge awaiting you in the short term?
A. “I will be a Fencing Analyst at Radio-Canada for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Radio-Canada was aware of my involvement and interest in the media world. Their team contacted me straight away when they found out I was not qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games. I am very excited to have this experience and to do a good job!”
Q. What does this new experience represent for you?
A. “There hasn’t been a Fencing Analyst since the 1992 Games, so it’s a great honor for me to be able to share my knowledge and love of the sport with the public. It’s not always an easy sport to understand, so it’s important to have an analyst who can explain the nuances well to viewers.”