Ski Para Nordic | Lynn Marie Bilodeau, time is like the flap of wings

If Fugain sang that the bird survives on fresh air and fresh water, Lyne-Marie Bilodeau has instead lived in surprise and adaptation since the beginning of the year. It is only upon her return to the nest that she realizes that 2022 was the year of the big hole.

Lin Mari Bilodeau had a strange feeling that the past year had passed at the speed of a hummingbird’s whip.

Leaving her native Sherbrooke to settle in Alberta, she competed in her first Paralympic Games and, a few days earlier, won her first of two medals at the Para-Nordic Ski World Cup.

“It’s amazing,” she said over the phone, days after arriving home from Scandinavia.

It’s hard to believe, she says, because she didn’t expect to be on the podium at the start of the season. However, she did win two bronze medals in Vuokatti, Finland, in the 5 and 10 km events.

At the age of 21, succeeding in excelling in a sport with as long a development as himself is no small feat.

Photo by Dave Bjorn Taylor

Lynn Marie Bilodeau (right) won two bronze medals in Vuokatti, Finland.

I didn’t expect to be on international podiums so early in my career. To do so in the first World Cup of the season is really unexpected, but a nice surprise.

Lynn Marie Bilodeau

create a fuss

Although she admits that the transition between Quebec and Alberta during the Paralympic year was “really difficult,” she believes she has adapted well to her new reality thanks to the training she has been able to benefit from.

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“Oh my God, 2022 really was a BIG year. It went so fast I didn’t see the time go by,” she says. However, she maintains, “the sacrifices of the past two years have paid off.”

His first Paralympics, in Beijing, was a great opportunity to compare himself with the best in his discipline. I came out of it stronger, but above all motivated. Like the butterfly effect, this experience had repercussions for the months that followed.

“It allowed me to see what level I was at internationally. […] I’m trained to catch up and that gives what happened in Finland,” Bilodeau adds.

Her medal at least allowed her to confirm that she was in the big leagues. “Knowing that my place in the international arena is only 21 years old,” she insists. The greatest satisfaction in his case is above all this: “Now that I’m on the podium, I know I’m capable.”

A mainstay of the Canadian team

Brian McIver’s arrival in the foothills of the Para-Northern Ski National Team is not far behind Bilodeau’s impressive progress.

McIver, one of the greatest athletes in Canadian history with 20 Paralympic medals, joined the team as a coach and advisor after announcing his retirement from competition a few months earlier.

“For me, it changed everything,” says Quebec. She gave me a fresh start. »

The arrival of the most admired Paralympic skier in the country’s history changed the way I looked at sport, competition and coaching.

McKeever’s coaching skills are undeniable, she said, but listening is her real highlight. “He is always there for discussion and I learn from him every day. We can talk about anything and everything.”

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Bilodeau wants to nibble on every second life gives him. She wants to learn and grow in every moment of grace, whether it is while flapping her wings or over ten kilometers away.

She will be back in the US at the end of December to continue to surprise herself.

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