Athlete portrait: Sandrine Léveillé
At 15 years old, Sandrine’s achievements command admiration. Born and raised in Shefford, this incredibly skilled all-around athlete and brilliant student passionate about anatomy, was recently selected as a flag-bearer by the Richelieu-Yamaska delegation during the 51st final of the Jeux du Québec, that were held in Montréal last July. It was Sandrine’s 4th time competing in the Jeux du Québec, this time in two disciplines: triathlon and mountain biking. Before that, she participated in the Longueuil Jeux d’été in cycling and two times in the Jeux d’hiver in cross-country skiing. The Jeux du Québec, organized by Sports Québec, are similar to the Olympic Games, only at a provincial level. They allow many young Québécois athletes from all over the province to compete in various sports before embarking in the adventure of international competition. Orléans Express is a proud partner of the Jeux du Québec and provided over 170 coaches and school buses to transport the athletes this year! Sandrine is one of them.
Portrait of an inspiring young lady.
Could you tell us about you and your career as an athlete?
I started cross-country skiing at the age of 3 and fell in love with it. I’m quite competitive, and I also had the example of my father who was a triathlete in his youth, so I believe this inspired me to do the same! I started mountain biking last year, thanks to a friend. In the beginning, I was scared because of the fact to your feet are clipped to the pedals. I was scared to fall and hurt myself, but the more I practised, the easier it was and I realized I enjoy it a lot. You don’t go as fast as regular cycling so falling doesn’t hurt as much!
What did you think of the Jeux du Québec last July?
The Jeux du Québec are like Olympic Games at the provincial level, so it’s really a great experience to meet athletes from all over Québec. It’s interesting to compare myself, to try to try to get better, and it’s inspiring. Overall, it’s a lot of pleasure, beautiful encounters and fantastic competitions!
You ski, you run, you swim! Do you have a favorite discipline? Do you think you’ll specialize in one of these someday?
Cross-country skiing is my favorite sport. I started to practise other sports to improve my performance at cross-country skiing. In the beginning, I picked up swimming to strengthen my core, then cycling and running to strengthen my legs. Eventually, they became a passion as well.
If I specialize myself in something, it probably will be cross-country skiing, and maybe triathlon, because the two are complementary, one prepares you for the other and vice versa.
Who is your favorite athlete?
Alex Harvey without hesitation! He’s my idol! I’m a regular at the Pierre-Harvey National Training Center, it’s a center that prepares skiers to compete at the World Cup level. I learned a lot there and realized the level that it takes to reach international competitions.
Do you work?
I do! I work every summer as a lifeguard in a huge camping with 7 swimming pools. I’m lucky to work with a wonderful team and I love what I do!
How do you manage your time between training, studying, working and relaxing?
When I have a bit of free time, I try to see my friends. I usually set priorities, during the summer, it’s my lifeguard job and the rest of the year, it’s my studies. My secret is to set detailed schedules and follow them strictly! I love to learn and I’m lucky to be part of an international program that exposes us to a lot of trips and cultures. Recently, we visited Toronto: the CN Tower, Chinatown, it was amazing!
What are your future plans?
Next year, I’d like to participate in the Canadian Cross Country Championships in Alberta and a run in Québec. In the future, my dream is to compete in the Olympic Games, in cross-country skiing or triathlon!
Regarding my studies, I want to study in order to be a cardiologist or a cardiac surgeon. I’m passionate about the anatomy and the human body. And I practise a lot of cardio sports, so I guess it’s linked!
Do you have other hobbies or passions?
I enjoy spending time with my friends and I’m always happy outdoors: I love camping, campfires and mountain hiking!
What is your favorite place in Québec?
I love the Mont-Sainte-Anne for its amazing ski runs and beautiful mountain hikes. It’s a must-try!
Do you have a piece of advice to share with us?
Yes, I believe that all the efforts we put in something are always rewarded one day of the other. You must persevere, even if it takes time, hard work always pays off!