Almost 40 years ago after an accident Chantal Peticlerc lost the ability to walk, but did not despair and became a legend in Canada. The woman has 22 Paralympic medals, including 14 gold.
Chantal Peticlerc. Photo: Groupe CNW/Comité paralympique canadien (CPC)
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Chantal Peticlerc was born in 1969 in a small canadian town of Saint-Marc-des-Carrières. The girl was 12 years old when it fell the heavy door from the barn.
Chantal was in the hospital for 4 months, and 19 days, doctors were not able to do anything until the swelling goes down. All the while, Chantal was suffering from a terrible pain, from which nothing helped. “I was on so many medications that I don’t remember anything but pain from the fact that lying in bed with broken bones” – many years later going to tell it during the speech in the Senate.
“I’ll never forget white clock that hung in front of me in the hospital. Every hour, a nurse came and rolled me over on the other side.
I swear I stared at the clock and began to cry when the time approached, as he knew what pain I will experience when I turned.
Then I screamed and begged my mother to help me, every hour for 19 days.”
A crucial role in the fate of the girls played her physical education teacher Gaston Jacques. He was interested in her sport and was persuaded to try his hand at swimming. Thanks to him, Chantal has not despaired and has found a new purpose in life.
“We can’t always choose what happens in our lives, but in the end we always choose what we will do with it. I was able to see not only the tragedy but the call was able to learn, that after this event, my life does not end but only changes direction. And in this new way I will find a lot of other challenges,” she says about herself.
“I know I’m the best in the world”
4 years after the accident, Chantal met with a trainer in the race in wheelchairs, Pierre Died and decided to do it. On his first race Chantal competed on a makeshift wheelchair and is to be expected came last to the finish. But the setback didn’t stop her and she decided to engage seriously in this sport.
“In the beginning, when my options were limited and the results inconclusive, I was already obsessed with this sport and knew I wanted to be a Paralympic athlete, I want to be part of a team and that I can be the best in this sport”, – tells about itself Chantal.
“I remember saying to my coach then, with all the passion and can be a little naive: “I know and I feel with all my heart that I’m the best in the world. We just need to move faster,” she laughs.
Success came to her in 23 years, when in his first Paralympic games in 1992 in Barcelona Chantal won two bronze medals. Four years later, she brought 2 gold and 3 bronze medals from Atlanta. At the next Paralympics she has 2 gold medals and 2 silver. At the Games in Athens in 2004, again success – 5 Paralympic gold medals.
She put an end to this series only in 2008 after the Paralympic games in Beijing. 39 years again Chantal won 5 gold medals and broke 3 world records. She was named the Canadian athlete of the year Chantal was the first Paralympian to receive this title.
Only 5 of the Paralympics, she won 21 medals, 14 of them gold and broke 26 world records.
“I know that in order to go from a bronze medal to a gold, I needed not only talent. I had a lot of work and discipline. To be honest, discipline was not my strong suit. I know there are people who are born with it. But I think I had to learn it. If I wanted to achieve my goal to win a gold medal, I had to be very disciplined every day and in everything I do,” she says about herself.
I had that power – that’s why I was able to recover after the accident
Despite the fact that the Games in Beijing were the last for Chantal, she is not retired from the sport. In 2012, she together with her coach Peter Eriksson was preparing for the summer Paralympic games 2012 British team. She also became head of the canadian mission at the Paralympic games in 2016.
Moving away from active competition, Chantal has been able to engage in personal life. She married composer James Duhamel and 44 years gave birth to her son Elliot.
In 2016, Chantal became a politician. She was elected as an independent Senator not associated with other parties, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The main direction of its work – the health and rights of people with disabilities.
“Some people say, that incident made me stronger, that’s good, because in the end, I became a champion. I prefer to think that I had this power and this person. That’s why I was able to recover after that incident,” she said.
“Nobody knows what would have happened in my life. I’d like to think that I would have lived a good life and made all my dreams even if my life did not happen. Right now I live a life that I like. I didn’t want to change.”
According to the materials of The Star, Senate of Canada, the Macleans
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