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Marie-Michèle Gagnon

Alpine

A hugely-talented all-rounder who competes in all five disciplines, Gagnon made history this season when she became the first Canadian to win a super combined World Cup race. She secured her first World Cup podium in slalom in 2012 and has developed into a consistent contender. Tipped to be a medal threat at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, Gagnon has 10 Canadian titles and is the reigning national champion in slalom, giant slalom, and super-G. The Lac-Etchemin, Que., native has a passion for the outdoors and loves mountain biking and hiking.

Top Results

1st – Super combined – FIS World Cup – Altenmarkt/Zauchensee, AUT (2013)
3rd – Slalom – FIS World Cup – Are, SWE (2012)
4th – Slalom – FIS World Cup – Lienz, AUT (2013)

World Cup rankings

(2013-14)
Overall: 13th
Downhill: 51st
Slalom: 16th
Giant slalom: 19th
Super-G: 19th
Combined: 1st

About

Birth date: 25/04/1989
Birth place: Lac-Etchemin, Que.
Residence: Lac-Etchemin, Que.
Hometown: Lac-Etchemin, Que.
Ski club: Mont Orignal
Made team: 2007
Sponsor: Osisko, Sintra, DGRMPLC

 

Height: 5-9
Weight: 150 pounds
Skis: Rossignol
Goggles: POC
Boots: Lange
Poles: Leki
Helmet: POC

Q&A

Nickname: Mitch in the ski world and Mimi at home. Back when I was on the Skibec team, there were too many Marie-somethings, so my coach shortened Michèle to Mitch . . . it was just that easy! Mitch in the ski world and Mimi at home.

First memory of skiing: Going down the steepest hill at Mont-Orignal in a tuck position the whole way down, and the ski patrollers trying to catch us…

Best moment in ski racing: My podium in Are, Sweden, in 2012. In that moment I was truly in the zone. I loved the hill and the course. I felt at home in Sweden, which I find quite similar to Canada in a lot of ways. I felt so proud standing on that podium; one of my biggest dreams had come true!

Worst moment in ski racing: It's probably a tie between straddling the first gate in Zagreb, Croatia, in 2011, and breaking my tibia-fibula in a ski crash in 2007.

What is your Olympic dream? Taking home a medal for Canada! 

What is the best thing about having the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia? Every Olympic Game is unique and special in its own way. Having the 2014 Games in Sochi is a great opportunity to compete and bring our sport of alpine skiing to a country that doesn't have a huge background in ski racing.

If you could listen to one song before leaving the start gate, what would it be? I like quiet in the start, actually. I love music at certain times, but in the start it’s a time to just focus on my key points. 

If you could bring any three people in the world - living or from the past - to one of your races, who would they be?  I would bring my grandfather, who has passed away, because he was a big fan of sports and I miss him. I would also bring my little niece. Alexia. I love her to death and she has never seen me race a World Cup before.

Hidden talent: I can figure skate – twirls and all! I bake a mean banana bread, and I am an avid photographer.

If you had just one day left to live, how would you spend it? I would want to be with my loved ones: my family, my boyfriend and friends. We would all go somewhere super awesome and do as many cool adventures as possible in one day. Cliff jumping, mountain biking, river kayaking, heli-skiing, surfing, hiking, BBQing, eating cupcakes and climbing.

If you could own a business or be trained in any career other than ski racing, what would you choose? Either physiotherapy, because I'd love to help out other athletes, or starting my own heli-skiing business, I don't even have to explain why!

When I’m not skiing, you can probably find me: mountain biking, taking photos, napping (I love sleeping, and I'm pretty good at it!) or at a BBQ with my friends.

What’s the best thing about your hometown? It's a small village and everyone knows each other. It feels like a big family versus the impersonal city lifestyle.

Name the most surprising thing in your suitcase when you’re on the road: I sometimes bring along my OnePiece suit. It doesn't pack that easily, but sometimes it is worth it for some snuggle time after a cold day of skiing.

Describe your favourite thing to eat or drink during race season: It is always a treat to eat the cheese fondue from Les Diablerets, Switzerland, which our head coach Hugues brings from home! Also, sometimes when I crave a little sweet in Europe, I go for Katjes Saure Johannisbeeren (sour currants gummy candy). It’s my all-time favourite candy. 

If you could design your own World Cup spot anywhere in the world, where would it be? A slalom race in downtown Quebec City! It would be awesome to ice up one of the steep hills there and make it a sweet course. The home crowd is the best!

Where is your favourite place to race or train? I love racing in St-Moritz, Switzerland. It’s a place where I've had good results and it's super scenic. I also really love Are, Sweden, where I made the podium in 2012.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? The power to snap my fingers and instantly be anywhere in the world. 

If you could build your dream home anywhere in the world, where would it be? Anywhere close to a lake, mountains, family and friends. Lake Tahoe is pretty cool!

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen a teammate do while on the road? We sometimes break into some pretty wild dance parties on the road!

Who is someone you admire in sport? Mikaela Shiffrin. She has broken records as the youngest skier ever to win an overall title, and she is a very nice, down-to-earth person.

 

All Results

WORLD CUP

Podiums
1st - Super combined - Altenmarkt/Zauchensee, AUT (2014)
3rd – Slalom – Are, SWE (March 2012)

Finishes in the top 10
10th - Slalom - Lenzerheide, SUI (March 2014)
10th - Slalom - Flachau, AUT (Jan. 2014)
5th - Slalom - Bormio, ITA (Jan. 2014)
4th - Slalom - Lienz, AUT (Dec. 2013)
6th - Slalom - Courchevel, FRA (Dec. 2013)
6th - Super-G - St. Moritz, SUI (Dec. 2013)
10th - Super-G - Lake Louise, CAN (Dec. 2013)
5th - Slalom - Levi, FIN (Nov. 2013)
10th - Giant slalom - Sölden, AUT (Nov. 2013)
4th - Slalom - Ofterschwang, GER (March 2013)
5th - Super combined - Meribel, FRA (Feb. 2013)
8th – Slalom- Zagreb, CRO (Jan. 2013)
8th – Super combined – St. Moritz, SUI (Dec. 2012)
10th – Slalom – Levi, FIN (Nov. 2012) 
6th – Giant slalom – Soelden, AUT (Oct. 2012)
6th – Slalom – Schladming, AUT (March 2012)
5th – Slalom – Ofterschwang, GER (March 2012)
7th – Giant slalom – Soldeu-Grandvalira, AND (Feb. 2012) 
8th – Slalom – Soldeu-Grandvalira, AND (Feb. 2012) 
7th – Super combined – St. Moritz, SUI (Jan. 2012)
9th – Slalom – Flachau, AUT (Dec. 2011)
7th – Slalom – Arber-Zwiesel, GER (Feb. 2011)
5th – Giant slalom – St. Moritz, SUI (Dec. 2010)
8th – Slalom – Ofterschwang, GET (March 2009)
9th – Slalom – Cortina d’Ampezzo, ITA (Jan. 2009)

OLYMPIC

2014 Olympic Winter Games - Sochi, RUS
DNF - Super combined
DNF - Super-G
DNF - Giant slalom
9th - Slalom 

2010 Olympic Winter Games – Vancouver, B.C.
21st – Giant slalom
31st – Slalom

NATIONAL

Canadian Championships
Canadian champion - Slalom - Whistler, B.C (March 2014)
Canadian champion – Super-G – Whistler, B.C. (March 2013)
Canadian champion – Giant slalom – Whistler, B.C. (March 2013)
Canadian champion – Slalom – Whistler, B.C. (March 2013)
Canadian champion – Slalom – Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que. (March 2012)
Canadian champion – Slalom – Nakiska, Alta. (March 2011)
Canadian champion – Giant slalom – Nakiska, Alta. (March 2011)
Canadian champion – Super combined – Nakiska, Alta. (March 2011)
Canadian champion – Slalom – Nakiska, Alta. (March 2010)
Canadian champion – Super combined – Nakiska, Alta. (March 2010)
Canadian champion – Super combined – Le Massif, Que. (March 2009)

OTHER

FIS World Ski Championships
13th - Slalom - Schladming, AUT (Feb. 2013)
8th - Giant slalom - Schladming, AUT (Feb. 2013)
22nd – Super-G – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER (Feb. 2011)
23rd – Giant slalom – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER (Feb. 2011)

Nor-Am Cup
Ladies' overall champion (2009)
Giant slalom ladies' champion (2009)
Super combined ladies' champion (2007)