Beijing 2022

Canadian biathlete Sarah Beaudry continuing 70-year Olympic family legacy

Article by: Rory Sumner · for CBC Sports · Posted: Feb 10, 2022

Sport is a family tradition for Prince George native

Canadian biathlete Sarah Beaudry is continuing a 70-year family legacy of competing at the Olympic Games.

The Prince George, B.C., native's grandfather, Gabriel Beaudry, finished 10th representing Canada alongside partner Frederick Graves in the men's double sculls at the 1948 London Olympics.The 27-year-old Beaudry is well aware of the accomplishment, aided by a physical reminder from the London Games."

I always knew that he had gone to the Olympics," said Beaudry, who went to her first Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018.

"I remember he had all his pins from different events up in his garage. I remember always looking at his pins and thinking how cool those are. And now it's neat to have my own collection."

The connection between rowing in the 1948 Games to biathlon in the 21st century may seem arbitrary, but it's one that was forged by a trip that the Ottawa native took to Whistler, B.C., in 1967, as penned by his eldest son Michel.

The former Olympic rower and football player at the University of Ottawa made his biggest impact in sport through skiing, helping to lay the foundation for the sport in B.C.

Gabriel Beaudry became a nationally ranked skier in alpine, cross-country and jumping. He also served as president of Ski Quebec, and the vice-president of the Canadian Ski Association, which became Alpine Canada, the national governing body of the sport.

"I always grew up going to visit my grandparents in Vernon [British Columbia] at Christmas, and we'd always ski at [SilverStar Mountain Resort]," said Beaudry, who learned how to ski at just three years old. "I learned how to alpine ski with them."

"My very first B.C. Cup [biathlon] race was at [my grandparents'] old range at SilverStar," Beaudry said. "And my grandparents came on a horse-drawn carriage — because they have those up there — to watch me race."

Just over 20 years later, Beaudry has already one-upped her grandfather by competing in her second Olympic Games in Beijing.In her first Games in 2018, Beaudry was a reserve but filled in on short notice when a teammate became ill at the start of the Games, placing 29th in the women's 15km, and 10th in the women's relay.

In Beijing, she placed 14th in the mixed relay and 80th in the 15km, and will compete in the women's 7.5km sprint on Friday. She also hopes to qualify for the women's mass start on Feb. 19.

The same competitive drive and active nature that propels Beaudry now is the one that was learned through her grandfather, and passed down through her father, Pierre, and uncles."

I think it really spoke through all [Gabriel's] sons being really active," Beaudry said. "My dad is really active, which then trickles down to my brother and I growing up really active."

Her father worked in tandem with his wife Leisbet to encourage their children to be active through the Jackrabbit cross-country ski program at the Otway Ski Centre in Prince George, where Leisbet was in charge of membership and Pierre was an instructor."

I remember being little and enjoying laminating [name tags for the Jackrabbit skiing program] for my mom," said Beaudry. "I'd get in early putting up the signs and staying late, always saying, 'Mom, can we go [skiing]?'"

The competitive route was always the path for Beaudry, and it was family ties that helped start her on her Olympic voyage in biathlon."

There was a rule that to join the biathlon team you need to be 11 years old, just for safety and maturity [regarding the rifle shooting aspect of the sport]," said Beaudry, who is two years younger than her brother, Sylvain. "There was an exception to the rule though that if you have an older sibling in biathlon and your parents come to all the practices that you can join. So I quickly joined that same year when my brother joined."
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Heather Ambery, General Manager
Biathlon Canada
C: 403-707-6695
Tara MacBournie
Team Canada’s Biathlon Media Attaché
C: 647-522-8328
Josh Su
Team Canada’s Beijing 2022 Press Operations Lead
Canadian Olympic Committee
C: 647-464-4060