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Aurelie Rivard - Rio 2016

Aurelie Rivard

Swimming
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Whilst Aurelie Rivard claimed a silver medal in the 400m freestyle S10 at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, it is in the years since that the Canadian has really come to the fore.

In 2013 she won four medals at her home World Championships in Montreal, Canada.

Still though, she struggled to overcome New Zealand’s multiple world and Paralympic champion Sophie Pascoe to claim top place on the podium.

That all changed in 2015 when Rivard stormed to two gold medals in the 50m and 400m freestyle S10 for her first world titles in Glasgow, Great Britain, against Pascoe.

But that was not all.

At the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, once again in her home waters, Rivard brought down Pascoe’s 100m freestyle world record by 0.06 seconds.

Firmly embedding herself in the national consciousness, Rivard won six gold medals in Toronto to become the most decorated female athlete across all sports and third most medalled overall.

Rivard was one of the national favourites heading into her second Paralympic Games at Rio 2016, and she did not disappoint. Trumphant in three events with world records in the 50m and 400m freestyle, Rivard also showed Pascoe her rise to the top was complete.

Rivard’s potential was spotted whilst she was training to become a lifeguard and she began competing at the age of 11.

She was named Swimming Canada’s female Para swimmer of the year in 2014.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
S10, SB9, SM10

Further personal information

Residence
Montreal, QC, CAN
Languages
English, French
Higher education
University of Montreal: Canada

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming lessons for the first time at age three, took up swimming properly at age eight and began competing in the sport at age 11.
Why this sport?
"I wanted to become a lifeguard but I was too young, so I started swimming just for fun. My coach spotted me in the pool and said, 'You have potential', so that is how she got me into competition. I learned to love swimming because at that time I was struggling with a lot of mental health issues. I loved the challenge. I love to challenge myself, to set myself goals and to work really hard for it and achieve it. I think it's the best feeling in the world when you know you worked really hard for something you wanted. I love the pool and I love the athlete life."
Club / Team
CHP-Quebec: Montreal, QC, CAN
Name of coach
Mike Thompson [club], CAN
Training Regime
She trains at High Performance Centre Quebec [CHP Quebec] in Canada.

General interest

Most influential person in career
Canadian Para swimmer Benoit Huot. (ici.radio-canada.ca, 06 Sep 2016)
Hero / Idol
Canadian Para swimmer Benoit Huot. (cbc.ca, 29 Jan 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I'd tell young Paralympians to not listen to what people say if they don't believe in you and just let it go. Trust yourself and put in the amount of work you need to achieve your goals. I would've avoided myself so much stress if I just believed in myself and what I was able to do as a 13, 14 year old." (winnipegfreepress.com, 08 Aug 2019)
Awards and honours
She was named 2016 Female Athlete of the Year in Quebec, Canada. She shared the award with short track skater Marianne St-Gelais. (swimming.ca, 02 Dec 2018; paralympic.org, 24 Apr 2017)

She was named Female Para Swimmer of the Year by Swimming Canada in 2014, 2015 and 2016. (swimswam.com, 30 Sep 2016)

She was Canada's flag bearer for the closing ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (cbc.ca, 18 Sep 2016)

In February 2013 she received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Canadian Paralympic Committee [CPC]. (newswire.ca, 27 Feb 2013)
Famous relatives
Her father Andre was an ice hockey goaltender in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in Canada. (paralympic.ca, Sep 2016)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (winnipegfreepress.com, 08 Aug 2019; stittsvillecentral.ca, 12 Jun 2019; plus.lapresse.ca, 25 Sep 2016)
Impairment
She was born with an underdeveloped left hand. (winnipegfreepress.com, 08 Aug 2019; swimming.ca, 02 Dec 2018; ici.radio-canada.ca, 06 Sep 2016)
Other information
ANTI-BULLYING ADVOCATE
In 2019 she spoke openly about her experiences with bullying at a young age, which led to mental health issues and thoughts of quitting the sport. She says she now considers herself an anti-bullying figure for others going through similar issues. "I know I am not the only one who went through it [bullying], I know how hard it was and how hard it can be. I have got a lot of messages from parents and kids who have been experiencing similar things and honestly that is one of the main reasons why I spoke out. Me as a kid, when I was going through that, one of the things I was looking for was someone who would understand me. It was very hard to talk about. It is not a place I like to go back to. But I was happy I went back there, it was worth it. As parents you are so powerless when your kids are going through that, so they have understood it better. I have given them tricks to help their kids as much as they can and same with the kids, giving them hope. Honestly, I have been really happy that it has helped even one kid. It's been very positive." (cbc.ca, 12 Apr 2019; paralympic.org, 09 Sep 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Swimming World Championships Eindhoven 2010 (Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Backstroke S10 Heat 1 6
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB9 Heat 2 7
Women's 100 m Freestyle S10 Heat 2 5
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM10 Heat 2 6
Women's 400 m Freestyle S10 Heat 1 3
Women's 400 m Freestyle S10 Final Round 6
Women's 50 m Freestyle S10 Heat 2 5
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM10 Heat 2 2012-08-30 5
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM10 Final Round 2012-08-30 6
Women's 50 m Freestyle S10 Heat 3 2012-08-31 2
Women's 50 m Freestyle S10 Final Round 2012-08-31 6
Women's 100 m Backstroke S10 Final Round 2012-09-04 5
Women's 100 m Backstroke S10 Heat 2 2012-09-04 4
Women's 400 m Freestyle S10 Final Round 2012-09-05 2
Women's 400 m Freestyle S10 Heat 1 2012-09-05 2
Women's 100 m Freestyle S10 Final Round 2012-09-06 4
Women's 100 m Freestyle S10 Heat 2 2012-09-06 3
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB9 Heat 2 2012-09-08 7
2013 IPC Swimming World Championships (Montreal, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Freestyle S10 Final 1 2013-08-12 3
Women's 100 m Freestyle S10 Heat 2 2013-08-12 2
Women's 400 m Freestyle S10 Final 1 2013-08-13 2
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM10 Final 1 2013-08-15 2
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final 1 2013-08-15 2
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM10 Heat 1 2013-08-15 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S10 Heat 2 2013-08-17 5
Women's 100 m Backstroke S10 Final 1 2013-08-17 6
Women's 50 m Freestyle S10 Heat 2 2013-08-18 4
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final 1 2013-08-18 4
Women's 50 m Freestyle S10 Final 1 2013-08-18 3
2015 IPC Swimming World Championships (Glasgow, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 50 m Freestyle S10 Final 1 2015-07-13 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S10 Heat 1 2015-07-13 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM10 Final 1 2015-07-14 2
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM10 Heat 1 2015-07-14 2
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final 1 2015-07-16 4
Women's 100 m Freestyle S10 Heat 1 2015-07-18 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S10 Final 1 2015-07-18 2
Women's 400 m Freestyle S10 Final 1 2015-07-19 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S10 Heat 1 2015-07-19 1
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final 1 2015-07-19 8
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 50 m Freestyle S10 Heat 3 2016-09-09 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S10 Final Round 2016-09-09 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S10 Final Round 2016-09-10 4
Women's 100 m Backstroke S10 Heat 2 2016-09-10 3
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM10 Final Round 2016-09-11 2
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM10 Heat 1 2016-09-11 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S10 Heat 3 2016-09-13 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S10 Final Round 2016-09-13 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S10 Final Round 2016-09-15 1
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final Round 2016-09-15 5
Women's 400 m Freestyle S10 Heat 2 2016-09-15 1
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final Round 2016-09-16 5