Simple aims for Marcoux brothers for 2015-16

The mission for Mac and BJ is to compete together without the same injury-plagued season the world champions experienced during 2014-15. 08 Aug 2015
Mac Marcoux and his brother

Canadian Mac Marcoux, guided by his brother BJ, took gold in the men’s downhill visually impaired at the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships, Panorama, Canada

ⒸRoger Witney
By Jake Duhaime | for the IPC

Canadian para-alpine world and Paralympic champion skiers Mac and BJ Marcoux have one simple goal for the 2015-16 season - compete together all season long, without injury.

A bulging disc in his back kept BJ from guiding his younger brother during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, an injury that resolved itself in time to team up at the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships on home snow in Panorama.

But there, it was Mac who caught the injury bug, competing on a torn meniscus and a minor MCL injury suffered before the event. Doctors actually advised him that it would not be smart to ski, but the opportunity to take part in a World Championships in Canada was too tempting to pass up.

With the potential for further injury possible on an unstable knee, the duo went about their business one day at a time. They would win the downhill and finish second in the super-G before pulling out of the competition.

“I’ve had all spring to get back healthy and I just got the okay from the doctors to start warming it up again,” Mac said. “Hopefully it will be 100 percent by the end of the summer.”

2014-15 was a landmark season for Mac, who spent much of the year guided by his Robin Femy. In addition to his first World Championship podiums, there were eight World Cup medals, five World Cup victories and the overall World Cup title.

And yet, there is still room for improvement, not to mention the mental challenge of dealing with the hypothetical target on one’s back for the rest of the competition. For someone who just turned 18, Mac is wise beyond his years insisting that there is always someone ready to work harder for that place atop the podium.

Brother BJ takes a big-picture view, noting the growing maturity of an emerging world-class athlete.

“He’s still going to get better on and off the hill,” BJ said. “He’s still growing and working through things like endurance and power that will continue to improve over the next couple of years.”

The Marcouxs will spend the summer months placing an emphasis on dry land training before moving to the slopes as the autumn months approach. For BJ, this isn’t just an athletic endeavour, having picked up an off-mountain job in construction, something he says helps secure funding for his education.

Since winning their medals, the brothers have enjoyed a hero’s welcome including taking part in the torch relay for the current Parapan American Games in Toronto. Mac and BJ were also recently inducted into the Sault Ste. Marie Sports Hall of Fame.

"The amount of support that comes out of this community for us and other local athletes is so impressive,” Mac said. "Even when things don't go well, there is a whole community standing behind you at all times.”

One of those behind Team Marcoux at all times is 16-year-old sister Avery, often forgotten amongst the hype BJ and Mac usually experience.

“She’s the real hero,” BJ says. “I know there are times that she’s felt like the third wheel, but she’s always had a good personality and it is awesome to have a sister like her.”

The 2015-16 IPC Alpine Skiing season gets underway on 24 August, with slalom and giant slalom competitions featured through a Southern Hemisphere Cup at the Audi Quattro Winter Games New Zealand.