Jean-Luc Brassard – letter to the athletes

Letter to the athletes who will go to Pyeongchang

Jean-Luc Brassard at the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994

Jean-Luc Brassard is for those who are preparing to represent Canada at the Winter Games in 100 days opening ceremonies.

By Jean-Luc Brassard, gold medalist in freestyle skiing (moguls) at Lillehammer in 1994 and taking part in four Olympics.

In 100 days, the Olympic Winter Games. That’s a nice number that can offer a look at this important appointment, but for athletes, does not mean much.

In fact, at the end of the last Games, those of Sochi, the four years of waiting before the next appointment seemed an eternity; today, one wonders whether the time has not taken a shortcut!

So waiting for an event that will last only a few seconds. In some cases, it will crown the best discipline. In others, it will rather lower ranked athletes on the world circuit to illustrate enjoying vagaries of weather or other unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances.

I personally prefer the annual winners of an entire race track. They will have had to perform on a multitude of surfaces, slopes in different conditions, in snow, wind, rain, to win.

The difficulty is precisely the Olympics and precisely: perfect not only during a specific day, but in a moment X in the second.

Stressful, you think? Amazing!

In fact, the worst moments are those that precede action: waiting before the performance. Once in play, athletes find themselves in an area they know well. They simply leave their bodies to perform what he practiced until then for thousands of hours. Wait, it is more difficult to live, to control, to manage.

As your athletes, you are already qualified or not, world champion or ardent worker in search of medals, I would say this: whatever performance you are going to offer in about 100 days in Pyeongchang, South Korea be proud of it.

You will face the sporting elite of the planet, under the eyes of the world. There will be no director or writer of reality to fit the scenario in a final apotheosis. There will be you, probably in their twenties, daring to defy the odds, adversity, doubt, and questioning, not to mention the always possible injury and often exaggerated expectations.

You are so exposed and so young! Yet you dare to challenge this appointment rather thankless who invites every four years.

If in your ulterior motives, you’ve lucrative event covered a possible medal, you are definitely in the wrong way.

Worse, maybe you will win in complete anonymity! The performance of media coverage is unfair in today’s world of communication.

If I can afford to give you advice, it is this: once there, once given the start signal, perform for you, for the pleasure of your sport. For the sake of playing. For the same reasons that have captivated when you, child, you have started practicing.

Keep prioritize simplicity and above all, smile before this extraordinary epic that is your career, your first tests until that moment on the big Olympic stage, accompanied by the best in the world.

By then, a multitude of stage managers believe they have innate knowledge will always have a word to save you, to manage your career, in short, to tell you what to do. And social media now are real speakers that these people are heard.

Rely instead on your coaches, your entourage: they only want the best for you. They, your best advisers.

And once there, these Games deliver them with dignity, for your people, for your parents, for friends and for all the people in your area who follow you for years and that, even before the start of this great competition, are already proud of you.

The effect of a coin with a haughty and self-centered athlete will only time, as brilliant as it is. Conversely, a simple comment from a worthy athlete, the success or defeat, will exponentially source of pride not only cross the years, but which will ensure the sustainability of the sport by attracting younger facto accede.

So, for athletes, the medals are a reason to be, I can assure you, more than 22 years after Lillehammer, that the greatest rewards are those of passing time.

Having the chance to meet young people who, years after your Olympic performance, tell you how your exploits have prompted them to try the sport, is what makes the most pleasure. Personally, this is what touched me the most. And that still affects me.

In a little over three months Pyeongchang Olympic Games, I would like to say is that I will applaud you, all of you, throughout the qualification process and if you are lucky the later games.

Soon the great Olympic circus will start in 100 days it seems. But for me, it is after the close of the Games in 121 days I most looking forward to hearing about this experience. artifices far, agents, projectors, and cameras. Simply on a ski slope, having fun.

February 16, 1994: Jean-Luc Brassard at the medal ceremony after receiving the gold of moguls, freestyle skiing, the Lillehammer Olympics.
February 16, 1994: Jean-Luc Brassard at the medal ceremony after receiving the gold of moguls, freestyle skiing, the Lillehammer Olympics.
(Photo: Getty Images / Shaun Botterill)

Photo en couverture: Associated Press / Pekka Elomaa