Shares award with speed skater St-Gelais
MONTREAL – Para swimmer Aurélie Rivard was named Quebec’s female athlete of the year at the international level, sharing the award with short track speed skater Marianne St-Gelais at the 44th Gala Sports Québec on Wednesday night.
Rivard was Canada’s top individual medal producer at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, winning four medals in the pool, including three gold and one silver.
It is the first time there are co-winners of the award.
‘’It shows my Paralympic performances were as valorized as those in Olympic sports,’’ said Rivard, from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. ‘’It’s a great honour to get this recognition in Quebec. It’s a wonderful encouragement.’’
St-Gelais said she was surprised to win.
‘’With two winners it was obviously difficult to pick a clear choice,’’ she said. ‘’It shows there is a lot of talent in Quebec. I was against two girls who competed at the Olympics and Paralympics and I figured they would get the nod in a Games year.’’
The great performances by Rivard and St-Gelais in 2016 left the selection committee no choice but to give the women’s international athlete of the year award for the first time to two athletes.
St-Gelais won 10 medals in 12 events this season on the World Cup circuit and was crowned world champion in the 1500-m and also took silver at the worlds in the 500-m, the relay and the overall standings.