Marie-Michèle Gagnon: an Inspiration for Young Athletes


Noémie Houde, Photographe

Marie-Michèle Gagnon a member of the Canadien Olympics team is retiring this year after a fulfilling career.

At 32 years old, Marie-Michèle Gagnon is the second oldest woman racing in the Olympics this year. Beijing is her third Olympics, she was in Vancouver in 2010, participated in Sotchi in 2014 and she would have qualified for South Korea in 2018 if she had not been injured.

 She said her retirement is linked to the fact that she is too competitive. She still wants to participate in the world championships next year, yet she is probably gonna stop racing to focus on other plans subsequently.

“I would love to start a family, go back to school, travel the world, and find a job that stimulates me,” she said.

She was born in Lac-Etchemin, Quebec to a big family of 5 children. They are a close-knit family, and for her, it was like she was born on skis. She first hit the slopes at the age of two years old. At the time her dad was following her with straps tied on her back so she wouldn’t fall. She started racing around the age of 5. 

Her love for speed has brought her to compete in the fastest events, so downhill and super G are her favourites. Although she started competing with more technical events, such as slalom and giant slalom. She is an overall skier but she loves the thrill of the speed and adrenaline.

Her two best results is when she won the World Cup in 2014 and in 2016. The event was the alpine combine, so the first run is a downhill and the second one a slalom.

She said, “It is a unique moment, the big difference between the Olympics and World Cup is the press exposure. Everyone is watching!” She also thinks it is fun because you can meet so many athletes that you have never competed against.


Marie-Michèle had a lot of injuries because of the ski. She broke her tibia and fibula when she was 18. She had surgery twice for that matter and missed a whole year because it was during a summer camp. In 2014 in Sotchi she fell on her first event and dislocated her left shoulder. She was able to compete in the other events but she wasn’t at 100%. In December 2017, two months before the Olympics she fell during training and sprain her knee. She had surgery again and missed the rest of the season. It was tough to watch the other racers that were in South Korea back from home.

Her favourite mountain to ski on is Cortina, Italy because it has the best scenic view. She also loves the snow back home in Palisades (California). She is also crazy about Meribel in France since is the biggest ski resort on earth and it is very impressive.

The biggest inspiration in her sport was Herman Mayer when she was a kid he was simply the best. Growing up she would say her friend Federica Brignone. They started around the same time and now she has 47 World Cup podiums.

Keep an eye on her, she is gonna compete in the downhill event on February 11,12,13 and 14 for the finals. She is competing in Super G on February 10.