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39185-Manoel Bourdenx photo

Manoel Bourdenx

Alpine Skiing

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
LW4

Further personal information

Occupation
Coach
Languages
French
Higher education
Sport Studies - University of Lyon: France

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He learned to ski at an early age. After losing his leg he began Para alpine skiing with a prosthetic leg in December 2017, and made his debut on the international circuit in the 2018/19 season.
Why this sport?
After his accident he set himself the goal of joining the French national team to compete at the World Cup in Morzine, France. He began training with the team in January 2019, and his performances were so good that he ended up competing at the 2019 World Championships in Slovenia and Italy. "The French team asked me to stay to train with them. It was good timing and good luck. At this time, I was just dreaming of [competing at the World Cup in] Morzine because it's home. I've been teaching for 10 years here and I just wanted to do a decent run in front of all my friends."
Club / Team
Club de Tremblay: France
Name of coach
Regis Sabatier [personal]

General interest

Nicknames
Baboo (Facebook profile, 02 Jan 2019)
Hero / Idol
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. (bleushandisport.com, 01 Jan 2019)
Injuries
In 2020 he underwent surgery on his shoulder and his knee. (ledauphine.com, 31 Jul 2020, 29 Jul 2020; Instagram profile, 18 May 2020)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"People at home believe in the spirit of the mountains. When we glide, the good spirits carry us joyfully. The mountain can get angry and can wrap us up and make us disappear for ever. Hawaiians also believe in the spirit of the ocean. Waves can carry us but they can also swallow us for ever. In both cases, we try to tame nature's forces that are beyond our reach, and we manage to feel humble before nature's greatness." (medium.com, 28 Feb 2019)
Other sports
He has competed at the French Para surf championships. (surfingfrance.com, 25 Oct 2018)
Ambitions
To win a medal at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (Tremblay Magazine, 01 Sep 2021)
Impairment
In 2017 the lower part of his right leg was amputated after a tiger shark attacked him during a surf trip in Kauai, HI, United States of America. (ecoledeski.fr, 11 Dec 2018; lepotcommun.fr, 01 Jan 2018; hawaiinewsnow.com, 02 Jun 2017)
Other information
OCCUPATION
Before his accident he worked as a ski instructor at the International Skiing School [ESI] of Queyras in Abries, France. He returned to the role once he had finished his rehabilitation. He also works as a surfing and sailing coach during the off-season. "Coaching is my life. It's what I have enjoyed the most since I was a child. In the end it [losing his leg] wasn't a big deal for me. I never thought for a second I wouldn't be back [teaching]." (handisport.org, 01 Mar 2020; ecoledeski.fr, 11 Dec 2018; france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr, 02 Aug 2017; hawaiinewsnow.com, 02 Jun 2017)

SHARK ATTACK
He is a surfing enthusiast and in April 2017 he was on a holiday with friends in Kauai, HI, United States of America, when he was attacked by a tiger shark. "When I saw [the shark], it was too late. I was waiting for a wave, sitting on my board, and the shark grabbed my leg. I fought with him for about 12 seconds, and then he released me, and a wave came and brought me all the way to the shore. Initially, I was angry at the shark, that's why I punched him a lot. But there were two kids who were swimming not far from me, and if it didn't happen to me, it could have happened to them. That would have been even harder for me because I would have felt powerless. [After surgery] I cried for a bit and the surgeon came and I asked him straight away, 'Am I going to ski with my two legs again?' and he told me, 'Yes', and from there I just thought, 'What do I need to do to get there?'" One year after the attack, he went swimming with sharks to help his psychological recovery. "I needed that [to go swimming with sharks] because I'm sure that sharks are not dangerous. Everything is more dangerous than sharks, even [falling] coconuts, mosquitoes, wolves, people, everything. They don't even care about you. They come to see your bubbles and then they go away. I know them way better than before and I just hope that people will open their eyes and realise that they are not dangerous." (paralympic.org, 18 Aug 2019; medium.com, 28 Feb 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Kranjska Gora/Sella Nevea 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships (Kranjska Gora/Sella Nevea, Slovenia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Giant Slalom Standing Race 1 2019-01-21 9999
Men's Slalom Standing Race 1 2019-01-23 14
Men's Downhill Standing Race 1 2019-01-30 5
Men's Super-Combined Standing Race 1 2019-01-31 9999