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The return to the roots of Marianne St-Gelais

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“I want the pace of my life to be a little slower and more available to the people I love. ”

Posted at 5:00

Katherine Harvey Pinard

Katherine Harvey Pinard
The print

It seems we can take the girl out of Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean, but we can’t take the girl out of Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean. Marianne St-Gelais said goodbye to the metropolis last week. She now she is back in her hometown of her. For real.

To be fair, it was only a matter of time before the three-time Olympic medalist in short track speed skating returned to his native region. “I always knew that I would return to the region. I just didn’t know when, ”she suggests on the phone, live from Arvida, in Saguenay.

It was in the fall of 2021 that the bell rang. “But what am I still doing here [à Montréal] ? What is holding me back? she wondered.

The former Olympian was 17 when she left the city of Saint-Félicien. She lived off her sport in Montreal for many years. Since she retired in 2018, she has “navigated the opportunities” that present themselves to her. The projects have been numerous; she in particular she launched her bio of hers in 2020.

“I’m really lucky,” she said. Sport has brought me good visibility. I really had a great work experience, but I said to myself: I lived what I had to live, but above all I pursued what I wanted to do.

“I also realized that maybe I don’t want to have a media career as big as the one I’ve sold a lot.”


PHOTO BERNARD BRAULT, PRESS ARCHIVE

Marianne St-Gelais at the Sochi Olympics in 2014

Note: St-Gelais likes to work in the media environment. As proof, for next year it will host the morning show on weekdays from 5:30 to 8:30 at Rythme 98.3, in Saguenay. With “his world”.

“In the end, it’s not so much the audience attention that feeds me, it’s the people I love, she falls. I neglected them there for too many years. Children grow up around me. I am a very absent aunt, I have elderly parents. I miss a piece of the life of the people I love the most and who have supported me from the beginning. ”

The 32-year-old broke the news to her parents around Christmas. She recently sold her her apartment. She and she are here for a few days in Saguenay, where she eventually wants to be built. Her boyfriend, originally from Quebec, joined her until she started her hockey season. If not, she is accompanied by her dog, Robin.

“My sport, I love it”

St-Gelais is therefore no longer a coach at the Canadian Regional Training Center (CRCE), where he oversaw the next generation of short tracks for nearly two years.

For now, he has no plans to join a Saguenay club. But he knows some coaches and he knows that if he wants to get back on the ice the door is open. He also intends to keep his coaching certificate active.

I will always stay close to my sport. Even when my Montreal gang comes to compete in the region, I go to see them. My sport, I love it.

Marianne St-Gelais

It remains that this sport has required many sacrifices over the years. The estrangement from his family is the main thing. St-Gelais specifically mentions her brother six years her junior.

“I feel like I woke up one morning, came home for the holidays, saw my brother who had become a man. He was taller than me, he had a thick, hoarse voice. […] My little brother was 11, then 16. I was in my bubble, in my world, in my business and I missed him. ”

“Life went on for me, but also for others,” he adds.

When her sister gave birth to her first child in 2016, Marianne was at training in the arena. She held her cell phone close to her, on her tape, to make a FaceTime just born little Livia. She is also the godmother of the little girl, who is now 6 years old. And her sister will soon give birth to her second child. “I’ll be there! Exclaims St-Gelais.

The former figure skater does not regret her career in any way. She made choices, like everyone else. Choices that followed, moreover, to her who participated in the Olympic Games of 2010, 2014 and 2018.

In summary, the time has come for Marianne St-Gelais to think about … Marianne St-Gelais. “I’ve been there in my life. I want to be in my nature, with my people, to rediscover those roots that have always been there, but that have gone a little too far.”

And then, the region will be the perfect place to, perhaps, start a family.

“I want to give my children what I have received. You can never control anything, but I said to myself: the decision I can make is to be in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean. Later, we’ll see. ”

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