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iy 7r Skeleton | The Olympic Games at all costs for Patrick Farias - The Times Hub

Skeleton | The Olympic Games at all costs for Patrick Farias

Skeleton |  The Olympic Games at all costs for Patrick Farias

Le Petit Robert, definition of resilience: “Ability to live, to develop, overcoming traumatic shocks, adversity”.

The word, fashionable, is often overused. In the case of Patrick Farias, on the contrary, he is projected to another level.

The 26-year-old Farias has been eyeing the Olympics for two decades now. While watching the Sydney Games in 2000, he fell in love with artistic gymnastics. Particularly by observing Kyle Shewfelt, who will become in Athens, four years later, the first Canadian to win gold in this discipline.

Young, Patrick plays soccer. In high school, gymnastics and football, despite his small size for the latter.

“I was a little crazy because I wanted to show that I was still strong. I probably had concussions, ”he says.

As a teenager, he decided to devote himself exclusively to gymnastics in order to maximize his chances of reaching the Olympic Games.

Two days after his 18e anniversary, club members get together for fun. The gymnasts have fun, do flips. Then, the party comes to an abrupt end.

Farias performs a jump and the back of his neck lands on a teammate’s knee.

At first, I lost my sight. I remember at the time I kept saying, “I can’t see anymore.”

Patrick Farias

While waiting for help, we try to calm him down and make sure he remains stretched out without moving. After about twenty minutes, his sight gradually returns.

“I started to see colors again. I remember my friend’s shorts, ”he recounts.

A relief. But the gymnast is not at the end of his troubles. Two years of rehabilitation will follow.

Autograph

At the hospital, he learns that his neck, surprisingly, has absorbed the impact quite well. Displaced vertebrae – dislocations, in medical terms -, C2 being the most affected, but only one small fracture, without major consequences.

His head, on the other hand, suffered a severe trauma. The traces left by the concussion caused by the shock are significant.

He will therefore attend the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital in Laval for two years, with four appointments per week. Physiotherapy, psychotherapy and, above all, brain rehabilitation. Patrick can walk, but at the slightest effort he suffers from balance problems and dizziness. Not to mention the memory loss.

At the start, despite this, he continued to believe in his Olympic dream.

“Even with the cervical collar, in bed, I told the coach that I was going to come back! ”

When the time comes, the medical profession makes him listen to reason.

When it was over, the doctors said to me: ‘You did a miracle recovery, but gymnastics is over. Get that out of your head ”.

Patrick Farias

Anyway, after two years of inactivity, he would never have been able to make up for lost time, he admits. And, of course, the danger was too great.

But before setting foot outside the hospital for the last time, Patrick is clear about his intentions.

By signing the documents that formalize the end of his rehabilitation, he launches to Dr Miljours, to whom he was closest: “Keep this, it’s an autograph for the future.” ”

Direction McGill

We are in June, the summer of his 20th birthday.

At the time of the accident, Patrick was targeting the NCAA in gymnastics, a project that was looking pretty good, he said. For this reason, he did not intend to apply to any Canadian university, which he now has to quickly remedy.

He does in extremis an application for admission to McGill University, in biology, and is accepted. Today he specializes in the study of fish, with a marked interest in sharks, of which he knows each species well.

“The first thing I did, after I got accepted, was Googling to find all the competitive sports at McGill and email the coaches. “

Those from the disciplines that didn’t seem to cause too much potential trouble for his head.

He introduces himself by detailing his background. Obviously, by hiding his accident and his state of health.

His period of inactivity? He leaves it to the coaches to speculate on the reasons and hopes not to be questioned about it …

“So I send that to track and field, swimming, baseball, rowing… all sports that I have never done in my life!” he says. I was just desperate to get back into the sport. And I always wanted to go to the Olympics. ”

To his surprise, all coaches follow up on his message, impressed by his sports curriculum, and offer him tests.

But he hasn’t done anything for two years. He needs to get back in shape right away.

Patrick therefore returns to training by running around his home, on soccer fields, he does sprints. It also uses material from municipal parks.

“I was doing chin ups in modules. It must have been weird when there were kids around! ”

The athletics team is particularly interested because of its past as a gymnast. The rest cannot be invented. He is asked to try … pole vault.

“I said to myself: ‘Oh no, that’s not good for the head!’ But it was my opportunity, so I said yes. ”

He learns the technique for running with the pole, but quickly, the trainer feels hesitant. Patrick has no choice. He decides to tell her the truth.

He is therefore directed to the medical authorities of the university so that he undergoes the examinations necessary for his acceptance into the team. On the spot, unfortunately, the Dre Baylis… the very one who sent him to rehabilitation after his accident.

To the doctor who asks him the reason for his presence in front of her, Patrick replies that he is part of the athletics team.

“No, I’m the one who decides that!” she retorts her tit for tat. You’re not telling me you’re doing the pole vault, at least? ”

Too little, too late

That day, Patrick will leave the office with only one green light: the sprint. And, for the moment at least, only training. Competitions prohibited.

The following summer, he trained thoroughly and then, at the start of the school year, presented for the medical examination with respectable performance. Mostly, without symptoms related to his brain condition. He insists on being able to compete.

“You’re never going to stop, are you?” asks the doctor.

– No. ”

He wins his case against a promise to only sprint.

Patrick wins his bet. He is accepted into the team and runs distances of 60 to 600 m. His favorites: the 100 and 200 m.

He clings to his Olympic goal. But the Canadian championships will make him disillusioned.

“I saw the gap between me and Aaron Brown, Andre De Grasse, the guys who are on the national team. And I realized that I had started the sprint too late, ”he explains.

His best time in the 100m: 11.19 s.

Fast, Farias. But not enough.

Another sport, another tile

Patrick then turned to an RBC rookie camp, “a series of regional evaluation events designed to help partner sports discover athletes with Olympic potential,” reads their website.

He is doing well and is spotted by the Bobsleigh & Skeleton Canada recruiter, who asks him if he would be interested in the second of these two disciplines.

Same thought as with the pole vault: “Head first again…” And the same answer: “Absolutely. ”

He learned the basics of the sport and then, a year later, with his university degree in hand, joined the headquarters of the national elite in Calgary.

In physical standards tests conducted as part of the national selections for the 2019-2020 season, Farias is disadvantaged by his height (5’8 ”) and his weight, which count for 25% of the points.

Only the fourth and last place available in the national “development” team is awarded based on performance on the track.

Patrick Farias

  • PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, THE PRESS

    Patrick Farias learned the basics of skeleton and dreams of competing in the Olympics.

  • Skeleton |  The Olympic Games at all costs for Patrick Farias

    PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, THE PRESS

    Patrick Farias learned the basics of skeleton and dreams of competing in the Olympics.

  • Skeleton |  The Olympic Games at all costs for Patrick Farias

    PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, THE PRESS

    Patrick Farias learned the basics of skeleton and dreams of competing in the Olympics.

  • Skeleton |  The Olympic Games at all costs for Patrick Farias

    PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, THE PRESS

    Patrick Farias learned the basics of skeleton and dreams of competing in the Olympics.

  • Skeleton |  The Olympic Games at all costs for Patrick Farias

    PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, THE PRESS

    Patrick Farias learned the basics of skeleton and dreams of competing in the Olympics.

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And who takes it?

“I had succeeded, drop Patrick. All my life I have wanted to represent Canada. After gymnastics, rehabilitation, sprinting… I had started all over again with the skeleton and I was finally there. ”

Then comes his first competition, in November.

After the prelims, he is one of only two Canadians to reach the final. At the start of the sprint, by pushing his skeleton – also called “sled” – bad luck strikes him again. He dislocates his right shoulder.

“I was like, ‘No, are you kidding me? After all that, I’m not going to stop there, at my first competition. Impossible.” ”

And he continues his descent with the intention of keeping his arm under him. But this one blocks at 90 degrees of his body and he cannot move it.

As a result, his arm drags on the ice during the descent, slowing him down and unbalancing him. In pain, he uses his opposite foot to try to keep control. After four curves, it skids, at 90 km / h, and slides to curve no 6.

“Everyone was like, ‘Oh my gosh, her head !” ”

The head is fine. The shoulder is a minefield.

At the hospital, everything is put back in place, but surgery will be necessary, he is told. His answer: out of the question. Only after the international calendar.

Every day, until the end of the season, he has to replace his shoulder. “Sometimes at the start line, just putting on and adjusting my helmet would get her out. ”

By force of circumstances, he must also learn to run and embark on the machine, the opposite of his natural side.

Unsurprisingly, his starts are slow and, consequently, his results disappointing.

As soon as the season is over, in February, he goes under the knife. One month before the start of the pandemic. He now has five screws in his shoulder.

On the day of our interview, he was forced to do a final fitness training, in Waterloo, on the 130 m track built by former Olympic bobsledder Yannik Morin.

Watch a descent from Patrick Farias to Waterloo

The next day he was going to fly to Calgary, back with the national team.

The injury considerably reduced his chances of taking part in the Beijing Games in 2022. Mission impossible? No. It would be surprising, however.

But for those of 2026, in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, don’t bet against him.

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