The passage of the World Cup circuit in Quebec is often synonymous with a first for the athletes of La Belle Province. This was the case for Arianne Gallant on Friday, she who took advantage of the Snowboard Cross World Cup presented at Mont-Sainte-Anne to demonstrate all her determination and strength of character.
The athlete from Saint-Lambert-de-Lauzon experienced a rollercoaster of emotions during qualifying. Being the very last athlete to go, Gallant mis-negotiated the first few jumps and lost her balance. She then found herself facing a wall and had no choice but to detach her boot from her board, which automatically ended her descent.
No question of stopping for the 17-year-old snowboarder, who was determined to cross the finish line despite the DNF (Did Not Finish) mention in the standings.
“I was not able to carry on with my feet tied, I had to unfasten my binding to be able to climb on a wall. I knew this was going to end my descent, but I wanted to finish anyway. I was on edge and wanted to cry. I absolutely wanted to get myself back,” she said in an interview with Sportcom.
Back at the top of the course for the second qualifying run, the 17-year-old had only one goal in mind: to make it to the finish line without tripping. Mission accomplished and it was with a smile on her face that she went to join her loved ones who were waiting for her at the bottom of the track to congratulate her.
“There’s a part of me that wants to scream because the course is sick!” I’ve never done such a big course and I’ve done it on my feet despite a few mistakes, but there’s another part of me that wants to cry because it’s a lot of emotions. I’m glad I did! she exclaimed.
Although she did not qualify for the playoffs to be held on Saturday, Arianne Gallant is extremely proud to have participated in the first World Cup of her career.
“It’s a golden opportunity to be able to race in the World Cup this year. In addition, to do it here, in Quebec, in front of my family and my friends. I knew they were there to encourage me, it feels good. I didn’t have any result goals today, I wanted to enjoy the day and I’m super happy. »
Guylaine Lehoux and David Gallant, Arianne’s parents, very attentive spectators on Friday, were also very proud of their daughter’s combativeness in her first steps among the world elite.
“It’s a great proof of perseverance. That she removes her fixation is one thing, but that she continues despite the DNF, it’s character. She held on until the end and that makes us really happy and proud,” commented her mother Guylaine.
“Arianne was frustrated after her first run, but I saw her tenacity, she wouldn’t let go and that’s a great quality. We’ve seen her work a lot in the last few years to achieve her goals and that she’s made it to the World Cup today, at 17, it’s a huge pride for us, “added her father David.
The Canada Games silver medalist won’t be in the game on Saturday, but she’ll want to put all the gum on Sunday when all the athletes compete in the four-man elimination races.
“This will be another first that makes me really happy. I want to improve, I might watch some videos tonight on how to handle the start and not make the same mistakes again,” concluded Gallant.
In qualifying, Audrey McManiman and Eliot Grondin both finished first, earning their way into Saturday’s finals. Griffin Mason, who was also in his first experience in the World Cup, failed to rank in the top-32 to access the races the next day, as did Tristan Bell and William Scott.
For her part, Lily Bellaar Spruyt finished 23rd, just ahead of Gallant and will not be in the finals on Saturday.