Philippe Marquis, moguls skier, 'fired up' for Olympic debut
Sochi dream crushed, then re-ignited after teammate's injury
The process of naming Canada's Olympic freestyle ski team played out like a chess match. But instead of kings and queens, it was childhood Olympic dreams that were on the line.
With more than 30 qualified athletes vying for 26 spots on the roster, the Canadian Olympic Committee worked to balance medal potential with quota spots and gender maximums regulated by the International Olympic Committee.
When the team was announced on January 20th, moguls skier Philippe Marquis of Quebec City didn't make the cut. The 24-year-old missed making the team by just one position after finishing eighth at the final Olympic qualifier in Val St. Come, Que.
His Olympic dream was crushed.
Less than 48 hours later Marquis's fate changed when halfpipe skier Megan Gunning, who had made the team, injured her knee during practice at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo. Gunning was forced to drop out of the Olympics and Marquis received the call to fill her spot.
"I didn't expect anyone to get injured and I felt really sad for Megan," said Marquis. "Sport is what it is and when I got the confirmation I knew I had a great opportunity lying in front of me."
"This whole story has been a roller coaster of emotion. From disappointment to pride, I've seen it all. But it just keep getting better!"
Marquis immediately packed his bags and boarded a flight to Tignes, France, to join his teammates for a pre-Olympic training camp.
"I will be fired up for these Games," he said. "I feel I'm in my prime and I've been getting ready for the past four years."
Through the ups and downs of the qualification period Marquis has learned some valuable lessons and revitalized his own approach.
"I realized sport is not only about results and I'd had an impact on the people around me," he said. "This was big for me and helped me keep my head up."
When he makes his Olympic debut in Sochi on Monday he'll be joined by teammates Olympic champion Alex Bilodeau, Mikaël Kingsbury and Marc-Antoine Gagnon.
"Alex is a synonym of dedication, Mik of constance and Marc of hard work."
"My teammates have put the bar really high over the past few years. This has helped me stay focus and work hard if I wanted to stay part of the best moguls skier in the world."
Marquis plans on making the most of his last minute opportunity.
"This opportunity is the occasion to represent your country and have all eyes on you. This is a great time to inspired the nation and show what Canada is all about. "