Quebec City athletes go for gold in Beijing

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Photo: Marc Sanche

On August 2, most of the Canadian Olympic team will be leaving for Beijing. The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) has selected the 331 athletes who will be attending the games. According to the COC’s website, there are six athletes from the Quebec City region who will be competing in Beijing. For the 2004 Athens Olympics, there were eight.It will be the second games for two of those athletes.  Mylanie Barré, 29, took seventh position at the 2004 Olympics for kayak (double) 500m. The Lac Beauport native was also a bronze medalist at the 2003 World Championships.A silver-medal winner in cross country mountain biking at Athens, Marie-Hélène Prémont, from Chateau-Richer will also represent Canada in Beijing. The 30-year-old has been training in her shed to get used to the humid heat of China.For Sebastien Michaud, Karine Sergerie, Elise Marcotte and Jean Sayegh this will be their first experience.Sebastien Michaud, 21, is the first to represent Canada in tae kwon do for men since the sport became an Olympic discipline in the 2000 Sydney Games. Alain Bernier trains the young man from Quebec City at the tae kwon do club of St-Foy. Michaud won the bronze medal at the World Championships in Beijing in May 2007.Karine Sergerie, 23, who is also trained in tae kwon do by Alain Bernier and her father, Réjean Sergerie, will join Michaud on the team.  The St-Catherine native is the 2007 world champion and six-time consecutive national champion (2002 to 2007). Ancienne-Lorette born and bred, Elise Marcotte, 19, is part of the synchronized swimming Olympic team.  The 2007 silver medalist at the Pan Am Games trains in Montreal where she also studies, but drives back home every weekend.Quebec City will also be paying attention to Jean Sayegh’s medal bid in water polo. The 27-year-old was born in Lebanon and raised in Quebec City. He trains with the club Les Hydres de Quebec.One athlete who was not listed on the COC website until one week ago will also be part of the trip. Lévis’ Marie-Pier Beaudet just qualified for women’s archery on July 20, one day before the deadline for contested qualifications.It will be Beaudet’s second Olympics. At Athens she finished 56th of 64 competitors.  But she was only 17 years old, “the baby of all Canadian athletes at that time,” said her father. Beaudet believes she was not confident or self-sufficient enough to be more competitive at the time, whereas now, at 21, she has the necessary maturity to succeed.Making it to the Olympics was a dream for Beaudet since she was nine years old. “I was watching the Olympics on TV in 1996 and suddenly I just said: ‘One day I will go to the Olympic Games,’” she said.  One year later she started doing archery. “It was obvious after a few months that she showed a lot of promise,” said her father.In total, seven athletes from the region will represent Canada in Beijing. The Games begin on August 8. For all those who can’t afford the flight – like Marie-Pier Beaudet’s father – the television promises lots of thrills.