Wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc first recalls her uncertainty in duplicating the success she achieved at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. Petitclerc discusses the process of winning five Paralympic Gold medals twice and the relief of victory. Petitclerc speaks about the legacy she has left for many Canadians.

Creator: Bruce Weir

© 2012, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. All Rights Reserved.


Transcript

We knew, like coming back from Athens with five Gold medals and going into Beijing deciding to again try those five Gold medals, it was a it was a big decision and it took awhile with my coach with my team, sports psychologist and we talked about it for a long time and we were very, I mean I was a little anxious and stressed and we knew that I would not be allowed to lose one of those Gold medals and that anything less than five Gold would be seen as a as a failure. And after awhile I remember Peter, my coach, looking at me with a smile in his eyes and he just said, “Who are we kidding? Of course we’re going for it.”

The whole week the challenge was to not be overwhelmed with winning Gold medals which is very joyful, but I had to keep it in myself and just go okay one out of five, two out of five, three and because I wanted to win those five Gold medals and make history. And after I won the fifth one, the one in the 1500 metre, it was like you know suddenly it just sank in that this was happening you know and that this, that I made it. And it was just so intense and to be in the stadium and to have the crowd there, it was just very, very touching.

It’s hard to describe and it took actually a long time, a few weeks I think to really be able to sit back and look at this from a perspective and just go, wow like this was this was pretty big, and I did it.

I’ve always done the sport for myself and to push my own limits but I do realize and I did realize after Beijing that I am leaving a bit of a legacy and that I did inspire other athletes and other girls to become faster and to become better. And to me it is a it is a bit of a side effect that makes me very happy. And I was inspired by other athletes when I started and they did make a difference in my life. So I find, I find I’m very privileged if I could touch the lives of other athletes and make them want to beat me. I just hope they don’t do it too quick. [giggle]


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