Petitclerc_Chantal

Speaker, Celebrity


Chantal Petitclerc

Paralympic Champion | World Record Holder

Obstacles do not get in the way of Chantal Petitclerc. The epitome of determination, perseverance, and discipline, Chantal is the most successful wheelchair racer of all time, boasting multiple medals from all three of the world’s top athletic competitions: The Olympic and Paralympic Games, the World Championships, and the Commonwealth Games. Canada’s Lou Marsh Trophy winner for Athlete of the Year (2008) and a Member of the Order of Canada, Chantal tells her incredible story to show others that challenges are simply a starting point for success.

At just 13 years old, Chantal lost the use of her legs following an accident. Four years later, she would discover wheelchair athletics, paving the way for a long and very successful career which would take her to the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 and ultimately, to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. She returned from Beijing with five gold medals, two world records and a Paralympic record, making her the most celebrated track athlete in history as well as the only Canadian athlete to have won gold medals at the Olympics, Paralympics, and Commonwealth Games. While the Beijing was the last time she participated in track competitions, she has continued to train, and intends to take part in road marathons over the next few years.

In 2012 she also became coach and mentor of the UK track and field team at the London Paralympic Games. After her return to Canada, she was named Chef de Mission for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games,  and she will also be the Chef de Mission for Canada’s Paralympic Team in Rio in 2016.

She also participates in projects for many paralympic athletics and sports organizations, in addition to working as a spokesperson for Défi Sportif and as an ambassador for Right to Play.

Chantal est née le 15 décembre 1969 à Saint-Marc-des-Carrières, au Québec. À 13 ans un accident la prive de l’usage de ses jambes. Alors, un professeur d’activité physique à l’école secondaire, Gaston Jacques, aura une influence déterminante sur elle, lorsqu’il la convainc d’essayer la natation pour développer sa force physique et sa résistance. Pour Chantal, c’est un premier contact avec le sport et l’entraînement.

À 18 ans, Pierre Pomerleau, un entraîneur de l’Université Laval de Québec, lui fait découvrir l’athlétisme en fauteuil roulant. Utilisant un fauteuil «bricolé», elle participe à sa première compétition et termine… bonne dernière, loin derrière les autres concurrents. Qu’à cela ne tienne, c’est le coup de foudre pour la course et le début d’une longue et fructueuse carrière!

Parallèlement, elle poursuit des études, d’abord en Sciences humaines au Cégep de Sainte-Foy et, par la suite, en Histoire à l’Université de l’Alberta, où elle s’est inscrite afin de pouvoir s’entraîner sous la direction de celui qui est toujours son «coach», Peter Eriksson.

Chantal dispute ses premiers Jeux Paralympiques à Barcelone en 1992, d’où elle reviendra avec deux médailles de bronze, l’amorce d’une imposante récolte qui comprend aujourd’hui une médaille olympique et 16 médailles paralympiques.

Et l’avenir ? Au retour d’Athènes en 2004 Chantal déclarait aux journalistes vouloir poursuivre sa carrière mais ne pas savoir si elle serait du prochain rendez-vous olympique et paralympique de Beijing en 2008 . Une histoire à suivre…


Sharing My Story

Every year, hundreds — even thousands — of people have the opportunity to attend one of Chantal Petitclerc’s talks.

 

In English or in French, Chantal speaks about the stages of her life, the circumstances that brought her to become a wheelchair track and field athlete, her major victories, and her minor disappointments.

 

Without preaching, she uses her own story to illustrate the importance of perseverance, ambitious goals, vision, and, especially, dreams.

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