The main parking lot of the Bromont ski resort was two-thirds full on Tuesday morning. After a rainy weekend, retirees gave themselves the word to take advantage of still winter conditions.
Even Frederick Turgeon was surprised by this affluence on weekdays. It must be said that she was on her first outing of the season on the mountain where she has been skiing forever. First in his father’s backpack, then on two skis, now on one.
Back home after a crazy winter, which saw her win an unexpected crystal globe in slalom and the silver medal at the World Championships, the 20-year-old paraskie agreed to do some raids with a photographer and a reporter
She had invited her big sister Raphael, whose tracks she followed in the competition club. Frederick had to go back to it a few times before being admitted; the club was not ready to integrate a disabled athlete, with all the questions it raised.
“Finally, they saw that she was resourceful and strong,” says Rafael, now coach of a group of U14 Bromont ski club.
With ski pants, no one could say at the time that Frederick was wearing a prosthesis in the right leg, half shorter than the left because of a birth defect. At most, his restricted mobility made his right foot turn a little atypical.
“She did not finish last of her races, she was always wonderful,” said Rafael, who coached her sister for two years. Frederick has even ranked 2nd 1 e 60 a regional event. Against runners without handicap, it is necessary to specify.
Moreover, the athlete from Candiac did not really see himself as handicapped on the slopes. One day someone told him about a parapheer camp at Owl’s Head. She thought a joke: “I did not think there were enough people like me to do that. ”
Already talented, the young skier progressed very quickly in the parasport, knocking on the door of the national team at the age of 15 years. A serious right leg injury sustained during a giant slalom in British Columbia in late 2013 dramatically changed its trajectory. For safety and performance reasons, Alpine Canada has demanded that she switch to a ski, with stabilizing poles, before admitting it to her program.
The shock was great. “It was hard on the spot because people are looking at you more,” said Frederick before our first run. There you are really disabled. It was weird. Like saying: I accept myself as disabled after 16 years of my life. ”
At the same time, she changed high school, attracting attention to another area of her life. In the middle of adolescence, she had trouble coping with this new image.
Reluctant at first sight, Turgeon has gradually mastered the new technique, which requires him to make a turn on two on the inner ski, which is downright counterintuitive on two boards. With her coach Lasse Ericsson, she is now talking about “big toe”, “little toe” turns.
“It was hard to accept, until I really started to like it. It took me two good years. I almost dropped the ski. I just decided not to care what others thought. By skiing on a ski, I discovered that it’s 100 times more fun. ”
Above all, it goes down much faster. Three years after her conversion, she qualified for the Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, where she finished ninth in the giant slalom last year.
Skiers who see it running at full speed in Cowansville or New York are taken aback. Ponytail in the wind, she flaunts in her uniform of the Canadian team. Leaning on its stabilos equipped with small skis, it turns at a dizzying pace.
Emotional moment at the top of Philadelphia. “Do you remember,” Rafael asks, “Dad had escaped you in the middle? Frederick was 5 or 6 years old, her father Ronald had hugged her to help her through this short mogul track. “I had just made up my face, I had lost everything by falling face in the snow …”
On the night of December 17 to 18, Ronald Turgeon died suddenly of a cardiac arrest during his sleep. Ski maniac, the 60-year-old man was the manager, the technician and especially the biggest supporter of his daughter Frederick. A few hours before his death, he went to pick her up at the airport when he returned from a competition in Switzerland. Without knowing it, the family had gathered for a last supper with four. All could say that they loved each other.
In a meeting early in the season, Frederick Turgeon had told the sports psychologist of the Canadian team that his biggest fear was that a loved one died while she was outside. “In this sense, I am very lucky in this bad luck,” she slips.
Less than two weeks after the funeral, without training, she won her first two World Cup races in Croatia. Driven by the memory of her father, she continued this dream season with two medals at the Worlds in Slovenia and Italy, including money in slalom. On March 21st, in Morzine, she won the crystal slalom globe.
Before starting the last descent to Bromont, a couple advances, a little embarrassed, to interview Turgeon. Their godson, a great sportsman, had his foot amputated after a motorcycle accident last year. They are delighted when she explains to them the different possibilities of dealing with such a handicap on the slopes.
We go for a final descent into Brome. “We’ll have fun! Said Frederique anticipating all these helmeted heads that will turn on his way. At mid-run, a man takes out his phone to film it. ” You are so good! He will launch a little further. Rafael, who follows behind, is dead laughing: “I call it the march of honor! ”
The descent ends in front of the clubhouse for a photo with the globe. Curvature forced to solicit the same muscles of his leg, Turgeon is happy to return his brand-new prosthesis. With her articulated ankle, she feels that she is walking “as if on a cloud”. “I can now put a heel on,” she says. That’s good, a reputable modeling agency recruited her last summer while walking in Montreal …
The photo shoot is almost over when Rafael offers a final adjustment. She replaces the heart-shaped pendant containing ashes from their father.
At the end of the season, Frederick knows that mourning will catch up one day or the other. “It’s going to hit hard, but not as hard as people around me think, I think,” she says. All that I lived, it motivates me a lot for the next years. I really want to win the big globe of the general. ”
She has not finished turning heads