Cross-country skier moved to tears at the finish line in Quebec City
On March 23, world champion cross-country skier Alex Harvey won a silver medal in the second-to-last race of his career in Quebec City. Thousands of spectators were there, most of them to encourage their renowned Canadian athlete.
“It’s just crazy for me to end my career like that in Quebec with two podiums during the World Cup finals,” said 30-year-old Alex Harvey during a press conference on March 24, according to Radio-Canada. “Because it’s been a rock-and-roll season for me, it has been difficult.”
Harvey started skiing when he was three years old. He is a five-time International Skiing Federation World Championships medalist and made more than 31 World Cup podium appearances.
“Of course, it’s sad to see him perform one last time, but I am happy with everything he accomplished,” said his father, Pierre Harvey, who also used to be a champion cross-country skier. After Harvey crossed the finish line, the father and son broke down into tears. “I am really happy with his career and I am happy to see that people like cross-country skiing because of Alex.”
“It means a lot to us, from the bottom of our hearts, because we have been following him for a very long time,” said Carole Drouin, Alex’s step-mom. She added he will now begin a normal life by getting married this summer, and will study law at the Université de Laval. “It will leave a huge void but we’re really happy for him.”
For most Canadians, Harvey represents a source of pride in the world of cross-country skiing. It’s only fitting he got to end his career at home.
“I want to thank the crowd,” Harvey said during the press conference. “I think that without the thousands of people who were there during the weekend, I probably would not have skied like that.”
Throughout the crowd, signs and banners supporting Harvey could be seen. The buzz of the crowd and the sound of bells designated for Harvey created an emotional and patriotic atmosphere. Harvey’s retirement is really something that touched Canadians, and this event was the peak of his success.
“I came here today to cheer for Alex,” said Nathalie Langevin, a Quebec City resident. “I think that being here today, everyone on the edge of the track like this, it gives the athlete a lot of strength. We need to encourage our athletes; it’s people who represent us all over the world. I find it important to be here today.”
For most Canadians, Alex represents pride in the world of cross-country skiing. His career ended on a high note, with two podiums over the weekend, a gathering of people to celebrate his success, and a championship in his home province.
“The most important thing is to believe in yourself and to believe that it is possible to reach a high level in our sport,” said Harvey. “Even though the World Cup circuit is in Europe 99 per cent of the time and that Scandinavian teams are the best, there are still some young Canadians who are able to win.”
While Harvey has made his mark on cross-country skiing, Canadians are ready to welcome a new athlete to honour his legacy.
Main photo by Anne-Sophie Jobin.