Canadian Olympic weightlifting gold medal winner Maude Charron says she’s still on cloud nine.
The Quebec athlete is back home from the Tokyo games after winning gold Tuesday in women’s 64-kilogram weightlifting and has become a celebrity overnight.
Kids at a day camp at Montreal’s Olympic stadium Friday flocked to the Rimouski native, bombarding her with questions. She said it’s only now that she is realizing the magnitude of what it means to be an Olympic champion.
“Just there, there’s a kid who called my name, ‘oh it’s Maude Charron,'” she laughed. “So it’s kind of surprising.”
Charron, who is 28-years-old, said she did not expect to win a medal at all — she just wanted to be there. Now that she’s the champion, she hopes it’ll bring more attention to women’s weightlifting.
“It’s a sport with a lot of judgement,” she pointed out.
According to her, many women are afraid to try the sport because they don’t want to get bulky, a challenge she said even she had to overcome.
“I’m even more proud of my body now than before because I know how strong it is and I’m proud of how strong my body is,” she told Global News. “So I hope that people will try that sport and get that confidence as well.”
Charron is the first Canadian woman to win gold in weightlifting since Christine Girard, who was elevated to gold six years after competing at the 2012 London summer games due to two other athletes being stripped of their medals when they tested positive for banned substances.
Charron’s road to gold was difficult, especially because of the pandemic. Gyms were closed, so she improvised by training in her father’s unheated garage.
Her boyfriend, Maxime D’Amours-Bujold, who was at the stadium in Montreal with her, said winter training was tough.
“I trained with her a few times and just putting your hands on the bar,” he remembered. “Your hands would freeze!”
He said she powered through in spite of it and now he, her family and friends are overjoyed.
“It’s just amazing,” he beamed. “Beyond our wildest dreams basically, because everything just fell into place.”
Since spectators were barred from attending the games because of the pandemic, they couldn’t be in Tokyo to support her, and that was the hardest part for Charron even after she won.
“When I was on the podium, the tears were there, and partly it was because my family wasn’t there,” she pointed out.
Now she’s going to spend time with them before getting ready for more competitions.