In less than six months, Aimé Perreault, a member of the Quebec long-track speed skating team, qualified for the final two World Cups of the season in Poland in February.
“I’m happy, but I’ll believe it when I get there,” said the 20-year-old long-distance skater. Until September, I skated with juniors and masters at the Center de Glaces, but I made great progress. »
Perreo’s career is anything but orthodox. A member of the Saint-Etienne short track club for eight years, he also found success in cross-country skiing, where his performance allowed him to be selected for the provincial team, but a lack of logistics changed his course. .
“In December 2021, I had not yet bought my skis and had to find another alternative, he explained. At the suggestion of my first short-track coach, Daniel Dubreuil, whom I thank, I tried my luck at the long track. My boots were moldy and I had no money for skis. So, even though I didn’t like it at first, I continued to skate. »
After the first race in Calgary during the Canada Cup, Perreault clocked 6 minutes 50 seconds during trials last October and set a personal best of 6 minutes 40 seconds 98 on January 6.
His performance allowed him to finish second in the 5000m and qualify for Poland. The winner, Jordan Belchos, was already in the qualifying round.
“I wasn’t surprised by his results because he has all the basic physical characteristics, but he did a lot of technical work which explains his rapid rise,” said his coach Marc-Andre Poudrier-Michaud. . Because of his athletic ability and knowledge of his body, he will be good at any sport. It’s possible that he may hit a small plateau in his development, but it will be up to us to figure out where the ceiling is. »
2026 Olympic Games
Perreault believes it is possible to qualify for the 2026 Olympic Games in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo.
“When I start something, I want to finish it and I will make the necessary effort,” he said. It didn’t happen last year, but I believe it is now realistic to believe in my chances of qualifying for 2026. I know my progress won’t continue at the same rate, but I’m giving myself three years. If the development board takes too long, I won’t waste my time and quit. »
Perreault continues to ski and also bike to perfect his training.
“I can’t skate six days a week or I’ll get bored and quit,” she said. It’s not the most physically demanding sport, but skating is the most mentally demanding sport because you have to set the time every day. »
“I have to keep the balance and do something else that fits my development to watch the 30 athletes selected for the national RBC camp in Ottawa in the fall. When I go skiing, I don’t go there to watch birds. This is a profitable exercise for skating. I started skiing when I was 5 years old and I will never stop. »
The first skater with a helmet
As he has done since his long track debut, Perreault will wear a helmet in Poland.
“I wanted to be the first to skate with a World Cup helmet in an individual competition. It will be special. This will cause people to react and some will believe that I am there as a tourist, just like I started in Calgary last March. My opponents had smiles on their faces, but when I hit the 5000m mark they found it less funny. It doesn’t bother me and it makes me stronger. »
In Poland, making his first trip outside of Canada, the Levis skater will find himself in Group B.
“I want to gain experience, watch how other skaters prepare and set a better time in the second competition,” he concludes.