Marc-André Bédard is an Olympic Biathlete from Quebec, Canada.
At the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games he was a member of the 4×7.5km relay team that finished 10th, matching a best-ever Canadian result. Marc-André is also a fan of obstacle course racing and is one of Canada's top ranked athletes.
Hexoskin: When and where did you start competing? How old were you?
Marc-André: I started competing in Cross-Country skiing in 1993 at age 7 in my club in Mont Sainte Anne, Québec. My parents, especially my dad, were avid skiers and always loved outside sports and activities so they introduced my brothers and I at a young age to all sorts of activities which gave us the opportunity to figure out what we liked best. Thats when I started dreaming big!
Hexoskin: Who introduced you to biathlon?
Marc-André: I had friends, who I competed against in cross country skiing and with whom I used to share the podium at each race. After a visionary biathlon coach came to their school to seek out potential athletes, they tried it and called me to come join them. I gave it a try at a time when I was racing all year around on skis and on bikes and totally got hooked the first day! This guy was a dream seller and I was buying!!
Hexoskin: What do you like the most about biathlon?
Marc-André: The challenge! Most sports are about pushing your limits to the very edge of whats possible for you body, biathlon is just that, with something I had never seen in another sport and still searching! The element of focus, body control, breathing, heart rate, lactate tolerance... All things you "kind of" need to control in every sport, but in biathlon, there's no half way, you need to be in total control all the time in order to aim at a tiny target 150 feet away at 180bpm, on a slippery surface as fast as you can! It's a hell of a challenge for everyone.
...my better half Claude shows me everyday what true perseverance means.
Hexoskin: Who are the people who help you perform?
Marc-André: My family gave me what I needed most, the love for sports. My first xc coach followed the same idea when I was little and my first biathlon coach helped me enjoy pain for gain!
My training buddy Jean-Phillipe showed me that it's possible to win in this european sport and my best half Claude shows me everyday what true perseverance means. It's about the little things I believe! It's up to us to find the best in others and make it ours!
Hexoskin: That's the spirit! What helps you concentrate before a competition?
Marc-André: Doing my usual pre race warm-up, from breakfast to race time I know what to do, I've done this hundreds of time, when it's time to race, the race face comes!
Hexoskin: Tell me about a time you failed to perform? What happened?
Marc-André: I've failed so many times it's hard to pick! In biathlon, where 2 sports makes it harder to hit the perfect race, you feel like you fail a little almost every race. I believe it's what makes us so strong, they say you learn more from failure than glory, I cannot agree more! And a good ol' kick in the butt makes you hungry for more!
Hexoskin: What is your main challenge right now?
Marc-André: Choosing my fights! The post Olympic year is quite different when you miss your chance! In 2011, I was on fire, attending everything that was thrown at me, enjoying each and every experience I could outside of the Olympics but this year is different. I'd been chasing the Olympics from age 8 to 23 when I made it in Vancouver in 2010. The last 4 years were about going to Sochi, which I missed, so I've been chasing the "Dream" for 20 years of my life and realize now that I have other dreams I want to attend to. Right now I want to have fun racing as much as I can and see how it unfolds.
leading an Olympic relay for a couple minutes was a feeling not many people have had the chance to feel
Hexoskin: Tell me about a memorable competition you attended.
Marc-André: My first World Cup was the craziest story I can remember. Long story short, I learned from my good racing on the IBU cups that I could attend this world cup in Trondheim, Norway!!! (at my own expense and I had to figure out a way to make it there from Munich within a couple of hours, alone... So I was able to borrow $5,000 from my bank to get last minute tickets and all, then got arrested in Oslo while exiting the airplane (I was under surveillance for some reason...) and found a way to Trondheim after 20some hours of scary expensive time. I needed to perform well at the first race and I did, I had outraced all other Canadians and had the best "rookie" race ever, finishing in the top 40 and getting myself a Olympic criteria which would give me wings for the upcoming pre Olympic season!
Hexoskin: Wow! Sounds like you've really earned it! What about your national team experience?
Marc-André: I've trained in both east and west national team centers and liked some things and disliked others! The Canadian biathlon federation is lacking money poor and on a lot of aspects it shows but in a way, I felt on my own a lot of days in my career and it made me strong and independant! It sure always brings pride to me to represent my country everywhere in the Northern world whatever the cost!
Hexoskin: Tell me about an injury you had. How did you recover?
Marc-André: I was fortunate in my career to never really injure myself badly, I did however get small injuries every once in a while and I always thought the same; you gotta keep finding ways to continue training. With a torn ankle, you have to recover but doing nothing just makes the rest of your body worst so I've always found ways around my injuries so I can keep in shape and stay strong and fast.
Hexoskin: What is the achievement you’re the most proud of?
Marc-André: There would be two I think. The first one has to be when I broke a spell and became the first senior male from Canada to win an International race at my first year as a Senior. Canada, since then, has won a dozen of those so it's still sweet to know I was part of this from the very beginning! Then, of course, leading an Olympic relay for a couple of minutes was a feeling not many people will have the chance to feel and I always get the shivers when I recall what happened that day. I was on fire!
Hexoskin: What is your goal for the next 4 years?
Marc-André: Enjoying the endurance athlete's life! Training a couple thousand hours gets you some physiological advantages in any sports and I plan to keep on training hard as long as I can and possibly take another shot at the next big show in Korea in 2018!
Hexoskin: We hope to see you there! And where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Marc-André: Who knows! That'd make me 38! I hope I'll pass on the dreams I acquired to another generation of little monsters and surely I hope I can keep living a healthy lifestyle and be fast as long as possible!
Hexoskin: Thanks a lot, Marc-André, it was a pleasure getting to know more about your career. Best wishes for 2018!