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  • Myriam Bedard - Biathlon


     The double Olympic champion title carries plenty of weight and Myriam Bedard has certainly showed in the past two seasons she is not afraid to put her international reputation on the line. After missing almost the entire 1994-95 season on maternity leave, the 27-year-old Loretteville, Que., resident returned to the World Cup circuit in 1995-96 and, despite a slow start, ended the campaign with one silver medal and three top-10 finishes. But last season was by far the worst of her career.
      Bedard was diagnosed last season with hypothyroidism, a condition that slows everything down for those afflicted, most notably their metabolism. The disease can be treated with medicine, but it is difficult to determine the proper dosage for a high performance athlete. She also suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome and discovered she was allergic to certain foods. Her best finish was 26th at the world championships.
      She took three months off from training this summer to seek treatments for her physical problems. She recently confirmed she's in tip-top condition entering this all important Olympic campaign. Bedard is a notorious slow starter. The best indication of how well she'll do at the Olympics is whether her results will consistently improve with every World Cup race.
      A fierce competitor with a steady hand, Bedard is also a fast skier with excellent technique. In addition to her purely technical skills, she also has an exceptional ability to analyse and adjust to constantly changing external factors during a race.
      In a sport where it usually takes many years to build a medal contender at the international level, Bedard has shown she is simply one of Canada's greatest athletes. She leaped to second overall in the 1990-91 World Cup standings in only her second year on the Canadian senior team. Bedard won a total of six medals, including three gold, and challenged for the overall World Cup title through the last race of the season in Canmore, Alberta.
      At the second World Cup of the season in Ruhpolding, Germany, Bedard raced to Canada's first-ever World Cup victory in biathlon. A few weeks later, brimming with confidence, she repeated her performance in Oberhof, Germany. Then more firsts. An Olympic bronze medal at the 1992 Games in Albertville. A world championship title in 1993. Then the ultimate prize in her sport: double gold at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer.
      Bedard started rifle shooting with the cadets when she was 14 and entered her first biathlon competition at age 16 in 1986. Despite a lack of competitive cross country skiing experience, she placed second later that year at the Quebec's women's biathlon championships. She was Canadian junior champion from 1987-1989 and won her first senior championship in 1990.
      She is married to Jean Paquet, also on the Canadian national biathlon team. Their daughter Maude will turn three this December.