Bédard wins historic biathlon double
A fine ice skater in her youth, Myriam Bédard's sporting success that followed actually came away from the rink. Bédard joined the Canadian Army Cadets aged 15 and showed an immediate affinity with marksmanship, which led her down a predictable sporting path.
Already an able skier, the combination of her ability on the slopes, alongside her accurate shooting skills, meant she was a natural in the biathlon and just three years later she was crowned national junior champion. She won her first world championship aged just 21, which was enough to attract the advances of the Canadian Olympic selectors as they assembled a biathlon team for the Albertville Games in 1992.
It was the first time that the women’s version of the sport had been included in the Olympic programme and, having been selected, Bédard won a bronze medal.
With an impressive third-place finish assured, she vowed to do better, and duly returned to the Olympic start-line two years later in both the 7.5km and 15km events, as well as the relay.
She wasn’t favourite for either individual event, but she ripped the formbook in half. Her first race was the 15km, in which Nathalie Santer was expected to challenge for the gold medal. Bédard missed only two of 20 targets, the best shooting display in the field, while Santer had a bad day with the rifle. Bédard was then the sixth fastest in the skiing, but her brilliance on the range was enough to seal gold.Less than a week later she was involved in a classic contest in the sprint. Ukraine’s Valentyna Tserbe-Nessina set the early benchmark with a time of 26 mins 10 secs, which was eventually topped by Belarus competitor Svetlana Paramygina who crossed the line in 26 mins 9.9 secs. Bédard entered the stadium in exactly the same time as the leaders, but produced an enthralling final surge to take the gold medal by just 1.1secs.