Quebecer helps elevate Canada’s men gymnastics, vying for spot at Paris 2024 games

Click to play video: 'Quebec gymnast William Emard hopes to head to Paris 2024 Olympics'
Quebec gymnast William Emard hopes to head to Paris 2024 Olympics
For the first time since 2008, Canada will be sending a men's gymnastics team to the Olympics this summer. One athlete vying for a spot on the squad is Laval native William Emard. Global’s Felicia Parrillo met up with him in training on Monday and discussed what this opportunity means to him – Jan 15, 2024

William Emard is no stranger to prepping for big competitions, but there’s some nerves in the gym now because he has his eyes set on making it to the biggest stage there is.

“I want to go to the Olympics — since I was a little boy I’ve wanted to go to the Olympics. Now it’s just six months away,” said Emard.

In October, Emard helped Canada placed fourth at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships to secure a spot at the 2024 Paris Games.

Canada has not sent a men’s gymnastics squad to the summer games since 2008.

“Since I’m a young kid, there was no team. And that was the work that we were putting it — that was the objective,” he said. “So making it happen, it was just a crazy moment. It was probably the high point of my career until now.”

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Though Emard helped the team punch their ticket to Paris, he still needs to secure his own spot on the Canadian team in early June.

His coach, who he’s been training with since the age of four, believes it will happen.

“In the last four years he was a very important athlete on the team, he was one of the best guys,” said Adrian Balan. “And I believe in that and I trust him and the process.”

And though the process to getting to the Olympics isn’t easy, Emard’s advice for young athletes — no matter their discipline — is to stick with it.

“You just need to persevere and be there every day,” he said. “I was never the most talented gymnast ever, I was never the most flexible, I wasn’t the most powerful — I was just the guy that was there every single day. And I’ve been there for 20 years now. I’m 23, I started at four and now I’m seeing results internationally. So it’s been almost 20 years of work.”

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