Elizabeth Desrosiers-Mcarthur has done a lot of interviews in the last week, since her return from Italy, where she was taking part in the Junior Canoe-Kayak Worlds.
“It doesn’t bother me too much, but I sure don’t look at the articles,” laughs the Club de Lac-Beauport athlete on the phone.
This media interest comes following her sensational results at the world competition, where she won two medals: silver in the C1 200 meter individual race and gold in the C4 500 meter team event.
Already, we are talking about a great success. But where success becomes prowess is when you look at his time in the individual event: 47.21 seconds. This time, her coach Frédéric Loyer points out, would have given her 5th place in the women’s under-23 category. A result “relatively competitive at senior international level”, therefore.
“I call it the sweet spot. This is something top athletes know; they are in a pain zone, and you have to resist and not panic to do things the way they should be done,” says Loyer.
“It’s easy to say it, but you have to do it when it counts, when the pressure is maximum. And it’s hard. Be brave. »
This feat is all the more impressive given that Elizabeth missed the A final last year when she competed at these same Worlds.
“It was still a disappointment, remembers the young woman. This year I arrived in Italy with the goal of making the A final. I knew I had trained hard this year and reached the next level. »
She ended up doing more than that. Here she is vice-champion of the junior world.
“I think it’s amazing because I had a 1 second best time. I had never done this in my life, I was far from it! she exclaims proudly.
“What made it go so well?”
– I don’t know ! Maybe adrenaline. Maybe stress. A mix of all that,” she replies candidly.
When told to want to write a larger portrait of his athlete, Frédéric Loyer agrees: “More important than the performance, it’s the path she took to get there,” he tells us.
So let’s talk about this path.
For the Desrosiers-Mcarthurs, sport is a way of life. First, Elizabeth’s big brother, Jérôme, and her little sister, Olivia, both go canoeing. Their mother, Pamela Mcarthur, was an athlete and gymnastics coach for years. Their father, André Desrosiers, has been paraplegic since a motorcycle accident at the age of 15 and has practiced many wheelchair sports. He has notably done marathons and won the Canada Games in para-cycling.
“It’s a great example of perseverance,” says Elizabeth. Being an athlete, it’s always fun to see that your parents have taken the same path as you. It’s still inspiring. »
The native of Lac-Beauport started kayaking at a young age, in the day camps of the club in her hometown. “At first, I really hated it,” she says. But the years passed and, gradually, she discovered a certain talent, even a certain talent.
At 12, when she switched from kayaking to canoeing, she discovered a passion. In secondary four, she entered sports studies at La Seigneurie school.
“Even in those years, I took it really seriously. Before I got into sport-studies, I trained a few times a week after school. I really liked it performing well. »
Over the years, she had different coaches. But his potential, “we saw it right away,” says Frédéric Loyer, who has been training him for almost two years.
“Elizabeth, I believe she was gifted by nature first. But the amount of work there was to do, she had to fit into that training continuum.
“It’s been about a year or a year and a half since she started to realize that if she wanted to be better, stronger, she would have to go get it, that nothing would be given to her. »
Remarks supported by Elizabeth, who tells us in particular about her training camps in Florida. “With all this, you take on a certain maturity,” she says. Not only are you almost always in training, you’re not there to fool around. Frédéric also helped me a lot in this. »
There are ups and downs, she notes. Lows, like when she has to get up “super early” to go rowing in the cold. Highs, like at the World Championships, where she “realizes that all the trouble [she] can have for a practice” ends up paying off.
Today, canoeing is a “way of life” for Elizabeth Desrosiers-Mcarthur. According to Frédéric Loyer, the young woman has “significant room for improvement”, she who is more of a sprinter, a “daughter of explosiveness”.
“When I talk to you about resilience, it’s because she has a technique, a way of moving her boat, which is an incredible signature for me,” says the French coach. It’s a lot of work. It’s thanks to all his coaches. She knows how to move her boat. »
Elizabeth will start competing as a senior in May 2024. She will take part in the Olympic trials, although her chances of breaking into the team are very slim.
“With all the attitude she has put in, I think she can be competitive and try to go up against the best, that would be great. But more likely it would be more the Olympics coming up in 2028, rather than [those in] 2024,” Loyer said.
The principal sees things the same way; when the Games are mentioned to her, she admits that she has not really thought about it yet and remains evasive.
“Listen… I’m considering continuing to race, so… To be continued,” she said first.
“In a few years, if the motivation and the love for my sport is still there… I hope so. It’s kind of every athlete’s dream,” she adds.
This is a very wise way of looking at things.