The Will to Win

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Ma­gog

Par­a­lympic archer Lyne Trem­blay, of Ma­gog, was back at home last week and ‘on va­ca­tion’ af­ter re­turn­ing from the 2011 Para­pan Amer­i­can Games where she qual­i­fied for the Lon­don Par­a­lympic Games in 2012. She had been con­tinu-

ally train­ing and com­pet­ing for four­teen months to both pre­pare and qual­ify for that com­pe­ti­tion so the va­ca­tion, a two week respite from her fifty hours of weekly train­ing, a quiet time to do sim­ple things like Christ­mas dec­o­rat­ing, mak­ing pre­serves, and get­ting her hair done, was both needed and de­served.

“We were never treated so great as ath­letes as we were in Mex­ico at the Games. Of­ten the dis­abled ath­letes are treated like the ‘left­overs’ but in Mex­ico the adap­ta­tions were in­cred­i­ble, the vol­un­teers were great, the site was beau­ti­ful. Those Games were very im­por­tant to me be­cause it was my last chance to be se­lected for the Lon­don Games,” com­mented Ms. Trem­blay about her re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence.

While at the Para­pan Games, which ran from Novem­ber 12th to the 20th, Lyne was asked to par­tic­i­pate in a Re­mem­brance Day Cer­e­mony or­ga­nized by the Cana­dian Govern­ment for the Cana­dian ath­letes. “It was a nice hon­our. They chose two ath­letes, one French and one English, who rep­re­sented com­bat­ive­ness and re­siliency,” she ex­plained.

They cer­tainly chose wisely; when it comes to those two qual­i­ties, Lyne Trem­blay has them in spades. A pro­fes­sional ath­lete all her life, hav­ing been a mem­ber of the Cana­dian National Ath­let­ics Team, the French National Cy­cling Team, an ocean kayaker and an Iron­man com­peti­tor, in mid-life Lyne both lost her hus­band sud­denly and un­ex­pect­edly and was di­ag­nosed with a se­vere, de­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease. Her strength of char­ac­ter had al­ready been proven, years ear­lier at the age of seven­teen, when she was the youngest fe­male on record to fly an air- plane solo from Montreal to Florida. And it would prove it­self again as Lyne read­justed the life around her in re­sponse to her losses.

“I was di­ag­nosed in 1994 with re­flex sym­pa­thetic dys­tro­phy. I had the se­vere form which was chronic and pro­gres­sive,” said Lyne whole legs are now par­a­lyzed as a re­sult of the ill­ness. “My in­stinct told me to keep busy un­til I could find new ‘ref­er­ence points’ in my life. I was lucky that I had a pas­sion that I could cling to,” she added.

Just a few years later she be­gan com­pet­ing in para-alpine ski­ing, win­ning nu­mer­ous medals as a mem­ber of the Que­bec Team, the Cana­dian National Team, and the French National Ski Team. Since 2007, Ms. Trem­blay has been fo­cus­ing on archery, first tak­ing it up to im­prove her ski­ing abil­i­ties. She is now a Cana­dian Cham­pion in archery and ranked 21st in the world.

Most peo­ple af­flicted with the se­vere form of re­flex sym­pa­thetic dys­tro­phy lose both phys­i­cal and men­tal ca­pac­i­ties; Ms. Trem­blay is an ‘ex­cep­tional’ ex­cep­tion. “The doc­tors think that be­cause I’m hooked on sports, it has re­ally helped. I’m care­ful about what I eat and my med­i­ta­tion and my phys­i­cal train­ing, we be­lieve, has made a big dif­fer­ence.”

Six days a week, Lyne’s rig­or­ous daily train­ing sched­ule in­cludes two hours of body-build­ing and car­dio­vas­cu­lar work, med­i­tat­ing, shoot­ing three hun­dred ar­rows at a tar­get, and vi­su­al­iza­tion tech­niques. “I need to shoot more but my body can’t han­dle it. So I shoot ar­rows men­tally, too. I start at 7:00 am and fin­ish around 6:00 pm. At night I just watch tele­vi­sion be­cause I have no en­ergy left!” In­ten­sive train­ing is also done in South Korea twice a year with her coach, Kim Hyang Tak.

Lyne is ac­tu­ally on an in­ten­sive search for a new train­ing lo­ca­tion where she can prac­tice archery in­doors this win­ter; a cru­cial el­e­ment to her suc­cess at the up­com­ing Par­a­lympic Games in Lon­don next year. “I’m look­ing for any kind of big room, a ware­house or a gym­na­sium. It could be any­thing.” Any­one with a large space to of­fer this ath­lete can reach her at lyne­trem­blay@cgo­ca­

Dr. Linda Gagnon, also of Ma­gog, has been work­ing with Lyne for about ten years, both as a doc­tor and as a coach, and ac­com­pa­nied her to Mex­ico. “Lyne is joy­ful, has a fight­ing spirit. She is al­ways ‘there’, al­ways ready. She’s a role model for young ath­letes. And she ac­cepts crit­i­cism very well be­cause she wants to win!” com­mented Dr. Gagnon.

Orig­i­nally from Sague­nay, Ms. Trem­blay moved to the Town­ships in 1992 with her late hus­band. “It was by chance that we dis­cov­ered this re­gion, com­ing here for em­ploy­ment rea­sons. Es­trie is the most beau­ti­ful area of Que­bec. I want to live and die here.”

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Archer Lyne Trem­blay, from Ma­gog, gets ready to hit her tar­get 70 me­tres away dur­ing the Para­pan Games held in Mex­ico ear­lier this month.

Photo cour­tesy

Lyne Trem­blay re­lax­ing be­tween com­pe­ti­tions in Mex­ico.

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