Quebec 2018 Year in Review: Courage, strength of athletes highlight top sports stories

Canada's Mikael Kingsbury of Deux-Montagnes, Que. jumps during a men's freestyle moguls qualification run at the Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Elite athletes can make their victories look easy — one can forget the long hours of training and the sacrifices behind every win.

But sometimes it’s not the prowess athletes show while practicing their sport that impresses us, but rather the courage, resilience and strength they demonstrate behind the scenes.

This year’s top Quebec sports stories feature a bit of both, from the acrobatic feats of freestyle skier Mikael Kingsbury to the courage of former Alpine Canada skiers to speak out and protect future athletes from abuse.

King of the Hill

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“It is a great honour to receive this award,” said Mikael Kingsbury, who was awarded the 2018 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.  “I have the greatest respect for the extraordinary athletes who have received it before me.”

Kingsbury, a native of Deux-Montagnes, Que., won Olympic gold at the Pyeongchang Games and dominated the World Cup moguls circuit.

READ MORE: Freestyle ski star Mikael Kingsbury has won the 2018 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year

Has boxing gone too far?

“Adonis is a world champion in the ring and is exhibiting that same grit, strength and determination in his recovery.”

Boxer Adonis Stevenson regained consciousness, three weeks after being placed in a medically induced coma following a knockout punch. Stevenson’s blow to the the head has made it impossible to ignore the dangers of the sport.

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READ MORE: ‘Boxing should be abolished’: Adonis Stevenson knockout prompts concern in medical community

The long road to gold

Click to play video: 'Christine Girard’s long road to Olympic Gold' Christine Girard’s long road to Olympic Gold
Christine Girard’s long road to Olympic Gold – Dec 8, 2018

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said weightlifter Christine Girard.

In early December, Girard was finally awarded her London 2012 Olympic gold and her Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medals, after several athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

READ MORE: Canadian weightlifter finally gets Olympic gold medal, 6 years after competition

In with the new

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After a bombshell trade, that saw Max Pacioretty go to the Las Vegas Golden Knights, Shea Weber was named the Montreal Canadiens’ new captain.

READ MORE: Montreal Canadiens name Shea Weber the 30th captain in franchise history

The push to protect young athletes from abuse

In march, four women — Geneviève Simard, Gail Kelly, Amélie-Frédérique Gagnon, and Anna Prchal — who were sexually abused by their ski coach, Bertrand Charest, had the courage to speak out. And now the women are on a mission to make sure other athletes don’t fall victim to sexual predators.

READ MORE: 3 victims of former national ski coach Bertrand Charest suing Alpine Canada

— With files from The Canadian Press


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