With files from Alpine Canada
VANCOUVER – Multiple Paralympic Games and world champion Mac Marcoux of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. has won the John Semmelink Memorial Award for 2021. It is awarded by the Canadian Snowsports Association.
The John Semmelink Award is the highest recognition for Canadian snow sport athletes, awarded annually to the Canadian snow sport athlete who, through integrity, conduct, and ability, best represents Canada in international sport.
Marcoux, a visually impaired Para alpine skier, has been a star on the Canadian team since age 15 and has competed at two Paralympic Games earning five medals (two gold and three bronze).
“I am extremely honoured to be nominated for the John Semmelink award,” said Marcoux. “Though 2020/2021 has been a rollercoaster of a year for the athletes worldwide, it has given me the opportunity to take a step back and focus on the small things that make the big differences.’’
Marcoux, 23, was the 2014 Para alpine Crystal Globe winner in both speed disciplines, and he won his first of two overall Crystal Globes in 2018. During the 2019/20 season, Marcoux and his guide Tristan Rodgers won eight gold medals including his 50th World Cup podium.
Despite not competing in over a year, Marcoux is optimistic his success can continue at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.
‘’Together as a team we have managed to create and maintain positive momentum heading into Beijing 2022,’’ he said. ‘’I am very humbled to have the opportunity to be part of Alpine Canada as the hard work from the staff, coaches, support staff, and fellow teammates does not go unnoticed.”
Marcoux began skiing at age four with his family at the Buttermilk Mountain Resort in Goulais River, Ont. At the age of nine, he began to lose his vision due to Stargardt’s disease and now lives with just six percent of his peripheral vision. In 2007, he was declared legally blind, however that diagnosis has not stopped him from reaching for the pinnacle of the sport and continuing to push his limits.
This season Marcoux was featured in the short film Blind Faith produced by Origin Productions. Blind Faith is a testament to human will and the proliferation of Marcoux’s attitude that what you can accomplish is only limited to one’s own imagination. He continues to inspire those around him to not let anything get in the way of their goals.
“Mac’s consistent results have been an anchor for the Canadian Para alpine ski team for many years,’’ said Matt Hallat, High-Performance Director of the Canadian Para alpine ski team. ‘’He is a talented athlete on and off the hill and sets the bar high for both his teammates and his competition. He continues to grow as a leader, and as Mac develops his leadership skills he helps hold the program and himself accountable to his accomplished athletic standards.”
The 2021 John Semmelink Memorial Award will be presented as part of the annual Induction Ceremonies for the Canadian Skiing Hall of Fame.