My name is Marie-Claude, and I grew up in a small town called Ville LeMoyne, at a time when playing outdoors until the street lights turned on was the most common thing for kids to do. Being active has always been a part of my identity, as far as I can remember, and was fortunate to participate in various sports activities during my elementary and high school years. I played volleyball, tennis, softball, swimming, hiking, camping, hockey, ballet, downhill skiing, and, of course, cycling.
On July 12, 2005, I went for a long bike ride, wondering how far and fast I could go. However, I didn’t make it back home; I was hit by a car after reaching the Canada-USA border. I have sustained serious injuries, such as a light head trauma, partial amputations of both arms, and a severely fractured leg. After spending 3 weeks in the hospital, during which my mindset remained positive, I was transferred to readaptation for another 3 weeks of intensive healing, retraining, relearning how to walk and be functional.
On September 1st, 2005, a mere three months later, I was back on the road, riding my bike, once again wondering where it could take me.
In November 2008, I met Louis Barbeau of the Fédération québécoise des sports cyclistes, who introduced me to paracycling. My first race was the Défi Sportif, on May 1st, 2009. This event has always been meaningful, not only because it was the first race but also because, by its very nature, the Défi Sportif offers an occasion for athletes of all abilities to gather and show what they’ve got. Sport has always been and will always be something that unites people, and on the field, we are all equals.
Reaching 95% of the national team standard in that race, was good enough to be invited to join the national team for a training camp. A selection to the 2009 UCI Paracycling Road World Championships followed. It was just the beginning…
It’s been an honour and privilege to race for Canada for 14 years, racing alongside the greatest Paralympic cyclists in the World, and even racing on the same team as one of my role models in sports, retired Olympic athlete Lyne Bessette. Each performance has been the result of teamwork, determination, resilience, passion, and a lot of willpower.
- Double world champion, 2021 UCI Paracycling Road World Championship
- Bronze medalist, individual time trial, 2012 London Paralympic Games
- Top 5, individual time trial, Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
- Silver medallist, 3000m individual pursuit, 2019 Lima Parapan American Games
- World record, 3000m individual pursuit, 2011 Guadalajara Parapan American Games
- 30 national championship titles
- 15 podiums at world championships
- 10 World Cup victories
- Silver medalist, 2010 UCI Paracycling Road World Championships
- Silver medalist, road race, 2011 Guadalajara Parapan American Games
- 2012 UCI Paracycling Road World Cup champion
- Recipient, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2012
- Triple silver medalist, 2017 UCI Paracycling Track World Championship
- Silver medalist, 3000m individual pursuit, 2019 Lima Parapan American Games
Following in the footsteps of many athletes before me, I felt a responsibility to engage with and give back to the community. I’m grateful of the fact that throughout my career as a high performance athlete, I was called to speak to kids, young adults and adults in various events, telling them about the importance of not giving up when things get rough, to have objectives, and most importantly, believing in yourself.
Where am I now?
A year after the last race, I am pursuing other endeavors in communications, by being part of the wonderful team at the Réseau des femmes en environnement, being involved in a sports sustainability group of athletes, academics, scientists and industry stakeholders, called Ecoathletes, and also contributing to a few projects in the very vast field of sports environmental sustainability.
It is far more important to be proud of the journey, than just results and medals. Never stop being a seeker.
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