Photo credits: Radio-Canada / Gymnastique Québec / Canadian Olympic Committee / Sportcom / Photo courtesy of René Cournoyer
Sport: Gymnastics – Artistic
Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020
Hometown: Repentigny, Quebec
Q. Is your participation at the Olympic Games a dream come true?
A. “For me, it was never a question of going to the Olympic Games or not. My focus has always been on becoming the best athlete I can be and doing my best when needed. It is common knowledge that it is extremely difficult to get to the Olympics and that few do, but there are so many other amazing events to experience. My journey is already filled with incredible memories, memorable successes and international competitions where I had the chance to make history. My career is enhanced by a participation in Tokyo, but it is not limited to this one. The Olympic Games are only the reward of hard work and unwavering determination. It is with this mentality that I was able to cross doubts, overcome challenges and grow as a person in the process.”
Q. What motivates you the most at this stage in your training?
A. “What motivates me the most at this stage of preparation for the Games is that I am about to represent my country as the only male gymnastics representative at one of the the most anticipated Olympic Games in history. It’s a great honor and I feel pride which challenges me to push my limits and do my best every day.”
Q. How is your psychological and physical preparation different for the Olympics than any other competition and how do you deal with your stress?
A. “The big difference between this competition and others that I have participated in the past is in the expectations towards myself. As this competition is a unique opportunity where I hope to perform well, it is sometimes difficult to relax. What helps me a lot is to think about the journey that has brought me here, what has already been accomplished. I did everything I needed to be ready. All I need right now is to be confident and have fun to fully enjoy this experience.”
Q. Tell us about a defining moment in your career when you learned something important that now has a significant impact in today’s life?
A. “The best lessons often come from intense experiences or memorable encounters. For me, one of the important lessons came from one of my worst performances in my career. I found myself faced with a choice: give up or roll up my sleeves and work harder so that this situation does not happen again. It was then that I build my character and found my determination to never give up and always push the limits, which allowed me to reach my dream and reach this level in my sport.”
Q. How do you react to victory and defeat?
A. “With humility in both cases. The result depends on the preparation. If I put the maximum effort into my performance, I can’t be angry with me. There are only lessons to learn and more experience that will serve me in the future. Victory is a reflection of our resilience in the events of defeat.”
Q. What excites you the most about your sport?
A. “What I love more than anything about my sport is the feeling of flying. Thrills that are impossible to replicate. I particularly like gymnastics for its diversity thanks to the six different events that push the body to perform movements which are extremely hard to execute. No matter which level your at in gymnastics, there are always new movements to learn, techniques to improve and strength and flexibility to gain. It is a very complete sport which shapes extraordinary human beings. What is learned in gymnastics applies to many other aspects of life and that is why it is the sport that I have chosen.”
Q. Do you have any ritual before a competition?
A. “All athletes have some sort of ritual that allows them to perform at their best. For me, it’s having a quiet evening the day before, listening to a comedy for example, taking a moment to stretch and activate my body in the morning of the competition, eating healthy to optimize my energy during the competition and finally, arriving early at the competition site to acclimatize myself to the atmosphere.”
Q. Could you share with us something important for you?
A. “Throughout my career as a gymnast, I have found it very important to combine school and sport. That’s why I have poursue my studies to university. Too often I have seen athletes who have abandoned their studies for their athletic career. Unfortunately, there are many instances where young athletes tend to lose the love they initially had for their sport because it takes up too much time and space in their lives. I personally believe that studies contribute to a great balance.”