The Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games ended a few weeks ago, but Canadian athletes continue to be honored. The figure skating team, in particular, is proud to note that the efforts it has made since have not been in vain.
Posted at 6:47 p.m.
The “I’m coming back to Montreal” event, organized Wednesday evening at Parc Jean-Drapeau by the Montreal Sports Council, paid tribute to the athletes who made the city shine during the last Games.
Mayor Valérie Plante and President of the Montreal Sports Council, Danièle Sauvageau, welcomed dozens of athletes. All dressed in their red Lululemon company uniforms, members of the figure skating, hockey, speed skating and freestyle skiing teams were warmly applauded by the guests gathered on site.
For the skating duo made up of Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen, this evening was a bit like a second wave of tributes: “When we returned from the Games a few months ago, we were happy. Afterwards, there was like a trough where you realize what has just happened. A few weeks later, it’s as if nothing had happened,” explained Sørensen.
“It’s nice to receive this honor and to receive this kind of tribute highlighting our journey. Sometimes you forget everything you’ve been through, so it’s really fun,” added Fournier Beaudry.
The pair finished ninth in the ice dance event and with everything they had been through in the years leading up to the Games, they couldn’t be prouder.
The season that just ended was their first full season since 2016-17. Previously, they skated under the colors of Denmark. When they made the change of nationality, they had to wait a year before returning to competition. They finally played half a season with the Canadian team. Then Sørensen injured his knee and had to have surgery. Then came the pandemic.
After the Olympics, they were stunned by the outpouring of love they received. The two skaters still talk about it with emotion.
I received many messages from young students who told me that they were following me, that they were proud of my journey and that they wanted to learn more about my story. I took the time to respond to everyone. Even a few weeks ago, I received handwritten letters in the mail. I found it so cute. It feels good to know that we can inspire people.
Laurence Fournier Beaudry
For his part, Sørensen was surprised at how inspired people were by their journey.
“You never get used to receiving this kind of recognition and it’s really something that touches us a lot to see the impact we can have on young people. Thanks to the Games, I heard from people I hadn’t seen for 10 or 15 years, old friends, who congratulated us on having achieved our goal of going to the Olympics. »
The reactions were numerous and generous, but the two athletes are happy to say that they still remained the same people, despite the extraordinary feat they have just achieved.
back to reality
Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha represent the future of Canadian figure skating. The two young athletes fully savored their Olympic experience, but quickly had to return to work.
For them, the Games were a dream. An ultimate goal. Nevertheless, they quickly realized that they had to get back to work.
“We started to settle as soon as we got back on the ice in training. China was great, it was a great experience, but we had to come back to reality quickly,” explained Lagha.
However, the two athletes did not hide their pleasure and took full advantage of their Olympic stay. That’s why getting back into the swing of things with this kind of evening is very special: “It’s an honor, I didn’t expect it at all. The service is excellent, it’s nice to meet everyone, it’s a great mark of recognition,” said Lajoie.
The reaction of fans to their return took them a little by surprise. They would never have believed that their journey and their performances would reach so many people. The duo finished in 13and position in ice dancing, but their real reward was seeing all the support they had.
People are proud to know Olympians and it’s an honor to be part of this great community. I received a lot of messages from people I hadn’t spoken to in years, and it’s fun to find these people.
Ditto for his partner, who took the time to see the full extent of such a success: “This is where we see that we have an impact. People remember us. »
The life of an athlete is not easy, and it is in this kind of event that it is possible for them to become fully aware of their accomplishments and to see that what they have managed to achieve is far from trivial.