Myriam Bedard - Won Big Competitions
Won Big Competitions
The training paid off when, in 1991, Bedard won a World Cup Biathlon gold medal. In the 1991 biathlon season, she won medals in five of six competitions, including two golds, two silvers, and one bronze. Bedard finished the season ranked second overall, the highest ranking ever for a biathlete from North America. She was often used to promote the sport for women in Canada.
The first women's biathlon events at the Winter Olympic Games were held at the 1992 Games in Albertville, France. Bedard represented Canada in both the 7.5-km and 15-km races, and as part of a team event for three women on the 7.5-km course. She was expected to medal, as she was still ranked number two in the world, but some questioned if she had participated in enough races that season to win. Bedard also faced tremendous pressure, primarily from Team Canada's coaches and officials, which made it tough on her. Despite the problems, Bedard pulled it together to win bronze in the 15-km event.
These perceived failures at the Olympics gave Bedard new goals. She told Christine Rivet of the Ottawa Citizen, "For me, (keeping motivated) will be easy. I know what my goals are. I know I have to improve my skiing. I know in shooting, I'm OK. I want to have the best skiing time in the world. I'm almost there."
Problems still remained for Bedard. Funding was an issue, until her agent negotiated a partnership deal with Metropolitan Life. The deal funded her training and offered the promise of a job after her retirement. This deal allowed Bedard to buy her own custom rifle. She trained hard (six days a week, 11 months a year) on her own with her own staff, including non-Canadian coaches in some areas. Bedard's independence made for a strained relationship with Biathlon Canada, but she was the best in the country at this point.
Bedard bounced back to do well in the 1993 season. At the World Biathlon Championship, she won gold medal in the 7.5-km race and silver in the 15 km. She became the first North American to accomplish this goal. She finished the season placed second in World Cup standings. In her training, she worked hard to increase her aerobic skills and strength, so she would peak for the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.