After a triumphant 2022 year, triathlete Emy Legault is having a more difficult 2023 season and is counting on the Montreal event, which takes place on Saturday, to regain confidence on familiar ground. “When you compete at home, the majority of people behind the barricades know you. It looks like you have a big team behind you, ”comments the Quebec athlete in an interview.

2022 has been a “truly shocking year” for Emy Legault, including a career-best 10th-place finish in Hamburg, Germany.

Her dream season began in February, when she captured back-to-back silver medals at the Continental Cups in Viña del Mar and Villarica, Chile. These results revealed potential that she and her team had missed in previous years.

The triathlete made her ascent a reality at the event in Yokohama, Japan, a few months later. Despite a shaky start in swimming, she did not let herself be defeated.

Emy Legault put his plan into action, then finished the event in 21st place. A result that surprised both the athlete and her trainer.

The next success was not long in coming. A month later, Emy Legault won the silver medal at the World Cup in Huatulco, Mexico. She was crying as she crossed the finish line.

With this success in hand, Emy Legault completed her season “on cloud nine”. “Looks like I wasn’t thinking anymore, I was just going for it.” »

She also says that she had her best career race in Abu Dhabi. And yet, nothing suggested such a conclusion.

“I came at 45 km/h into a pole,” she recalls. My left hip took the hit. »

Arriving on site a few days before the event, Emy Legault was struggling to regain form. On D-Day, during the race, the mercury hovered around 40°C under the scorching sun of the United Arab Emirates. The athlete, however, did not panic.

“I was like, ‘Make your case, be smart, and don’t take chances.’ »

Thus, the triathlete spared her energy by deciding to maintain a cautious speed, unlike the overheated runners in front of her. “Throughout the 10km, I passed them, one at a time,” recalls Legault, who finished the race injured but in 22nd place.

This year, the scenario is different. A 47th place in Abu Dhabi, a 40th place in Yokohama… Emy Legault recognizes that so far, 2023 is “tougher”.

Despite her past successes, the triathlete is sometimes struck by impostor syndrome. “I wonder, ‘Was it really me who did those performances last year?’ »

Today, with her trainer, Emy Legault is trying a new approach: focusing on the technical aspects she needs to improve, rather than aiming for a specific result. “I work to get every little thing done right. That’s how you get a good result. »

The love story between Emy Legault and triathlon goes back a long way. The athlete dipped into the sport from the age of 9. “Even when I was young it was a game, but not so much a game […]. I have always been competitive, ”recalls the native of Île-Perrot, met at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

At 16, the idea of ​​an international career went “from a dream to a goal”. But the road to the top was not without obstacles. “In my head, there were a lot of doubts when I was making a start. I started to perform less well,” she recalls.

“It took many years of hard work to get to where I am. »

Emy Legault will be the only Quebecer to compete in Montreal this weekend. Olympian Amélie Kretz, who was due to take part in the event, withdrew to treat an injury. The Canadian champion is nonetheless an inspiration for Emy Legault.

“Amelie is a great role model,” observes Emy Legault. She has accomplished a lot. She really has an amazing work ethic. There are still great things to come for her. »

Last year, Emy Legault entered the qualifying process for the triathlon event of the 2024 Paris Olympics. “I always had this dream, to go to the Games”, underlines the triathlete, who is currently 31st in the world Olympic qualifying rankings.

Emy Legault is not alone in the face of the Olympic dream: her sister, marathon runner Elissa Legault, also hopes to carve out a place on the Canadian team.

“We support each other a lot, my sister and I […]. It’s fun to be able to share this moment together, “said the triathlete.

The Montreal event of the World Triathlon Championship Series will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Grand Quai du Port de Montréal. The event will be open to the public free of charge.