Late father’s positive energy keeps burning in alpine ace Frédérique Turgeon

Canadian Paralympic Committee

November 30, 2020

21-year-old skier’s goal is to keep having fun on the slopes

Frederique Turgeon

PANORAMA, B.C. – It’s been nearly two years since her father Ronald unexpectedly passed away but Frédérique Turgeon carries his memory and his energy in her heart as she prepares for hopefully some racing opportunities this season.

‘’He is very present in my life,’’ said the 21-year-old Turgeon from Panorama, B.C. where she is in a training bubble with the Para alpine national team. ‘’I still recall the little phrases he had to encourage and motive me.

‘’He was a man who enjoyed watching his kids have fun. When he died, I made a decision that I was going to make sure I continued to have fun in my skiing. I know that’s what he would have wanted. I know with that mentality everything will go well for me.’’

On December 17, 2018, the same evening his daughter had returned home from a competition in Switzerland, a seemingly perfectly fit Ronald Turgeon suffered a heart attack in his sleep and passed away at only age 60.

The next month, Frédérique Turgeon won her first two career World Cup races. The emotional story of her dedicating her wins to her father made headlines throughout Quebec’s major media outlets.

Overcoming his sudden death was the greatest challenge in her career so far and her father’s positive energy is now propelling her through this pandemic which has put a stick in the wheels of athletes around the world.

‘’I don’t think I’ve ever skied so well in my life as at this camp,’’ said Turgeon, whose home base is in Candiac, Que. ‘’I’m just a lot on stronger on my leg now, my line is more precise and faster. Being here a bit longer than usual makes all of us hungrier for competitions.”

‘’We are so thankful that we have this opportunity to train together. We know other athletes haven’t been so lucky.’’

Turgeon was born with her right leg 50 per cent shorter than her left. She skied on both legs until 2013 when she crashed and broke her impaired leg. Since then she has skied on only her left leg which has been a major adjustment throughout her career.

The Para alpine ski season was dealt a big blow last week when the World Para Snow Sports Championships – the inaugural world championships to combine Para alpine, Para nordic and Para snowboard into one big event – was postponed until January 2022.

‘’It’s frustrating to train all summer and realize that there may not be any competitions,’’ she said before the announcement of the world championships postponement. ‘’But I try to look at it like this all happened for a reason.

“I was able to have the time to focus on what I need to improve. We try to keep positive but there’s no doubt it’s the competition that drives us. But in the long run, I know this will bring me more success in my career.”

A positive outlook: like father, like daughter.

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