That was almost 18 years ago. Marie-Claude Molnar, then 22 years old, was riding her bicycle on a shoulder when a car traveling at more than 110 km / h hit her head-on. She survived, “a miracle”.
Marie-Claude Molnar has very few memories of that fateful day of July 12, 2005. That morning, she got on her bike with the idea of going to Parc Safari in Hemmingford. Along the way, she saw a sign displaying the route to take to get to the United States border. ” Why not ? That could be fun,” she thought to herself as she changed course.
The Longueuilloise remembers having walked along a field, having reached the border and having immortalized the moment with her camera. “After that, everything was erased from my memory,” she said.
Seated in the small café in Longueuil where she gave us an appointment, cup in hand, the ex-athlete tells us that she was rescued by a motorist who was a little further away. Said motorist was trained as a paramedic.
It is that, after the contact, her body had landed in the windshield of the vehicle which grabbed her. “Glass cuts,” she recalls. His two arms were only held together by a few threads of skin.
“Due to the amount of blood I lost, I passed away. But hey, they were able to bring me back! “, she exclaims, smiling.
A miracle, they said.
The final verdict: mild head trauma, partial amputation of both arms, and around 20 fractures to his left leg. She had stitches in her head and underwent various operations on her leg. They put plates and screws in his arms.
Marie-Claude Molnar spent three weeks in hospital before returning home and beginning physiotherapy treatments. While the 40-year-old doesn’t remember much of that time in her life, she does remember one thing: “I didn’t have a negative mindset. I was more positive. »
A sportswoman at heart, Marie-Claude Molnar only took a month and a half to get on a bike again. She went back to riding for fun, like she always had.
It wasn’t until several years later, in 2008, that she first became interested in competition. She remembered a poster that had marked her, three years earlier, during her physiotherapy treatments.
A Défi sportif AlterGo poster.
“It showed a paracyclist, Marc Breton, who had an arm amputated. I said to myself: if he can do it, probably I can do it too. »
Marie-Claude Molnar contacted Lyne Bessette, the only reference she had in the world of cycling, who put her in touch with Louis Barbeau, general manager of the Quebec Federation of Cycling Sports. In November 2008, she had a trainer. And in April 2009, she took part in her first race.
“Le Défi sportif,” she blurts out.
From this first experience, Marie-Claude Molnar reached 95% of the national team standard in the time trial. That year, she represented Canada at the World Road Championships.
It was the beginning of a long, beautiful and fruitful career…
During her 13 years on the national team, the cyclist has done it all. She has been on the podium at the Parapan Am Games, Paralympic Games and World Championships. In 2021, she was crowned road and time trial world champion. She traveled around the world. She had many memorable encounters.
“It was really great teamwork. It’s important to mention it, “insists the one who retired last summer.
All of these experiences now form “the foundation of what [she is] becoming.”
When she was approached to be an ambassador for the Défi sportif AlterGo, Marie-Claude Molnar did not hesitate for a fraction of a second. Not only did she attend the event almost every year for 13 years, but that’s where it all started.
“It was my first race, my gateway,” she recalls in the sweetness that characterizes her.
The Défi sportif, she recalls, is an opportunity for young primary and secondary school athletes living with a disability “to find themselves in an environment where sport makes everyone the same,” explains Molnar in a smile.
As an ambassador, she will meet young people at competition sites. She will tell them about her journey; that of a woman who, after having been close to death, has embarked on a new adventure that has allowed her to surpass herself more than she would have thought possible.
That is precisely his message to young people: “Go for it”. Because “if you don’t try, you’ll never know”.
And that, Marie-Claude Molnar is well placed to know.