OTTAWA – Mac Marcoux, one of the world’s most dominant skiers with a visual impairment over the past five years, needs a new guide. With the World Cup season still several months away, inquiries are already underway and emails distributed.
‘’We’ve contacted all the provincial programs and we are confident we’ll get a strong response especially with all the success we’ve had,’’ said Marcoux. ‘’There are a lot of excellent and consistent skiers in Canada and I have no worries we’ll find someone compatible both on and off the slopes.’’
At the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Marcoux won the gold medal in the downhill and bronze in the giant slalom with Jack Leitch of Calgary. Marcoux and Leitch joined forces in 2015 and earned six world titles before their successes at the Games.
It’s not hard to see why Marcoux and Leitch enjoyed so much success. At the Team Canada Celebration last week in Ottawa, it was evident the pair had forged a strong friendship in their years as a team.
‘’Communication in the sport is very important but it is something that can be learned,’’ said Marcoux, also a triple medallist at the 2014 Games at age 16. ‘’I was very fortunate with Jack that the transition was pretty seamless.’’
On the slopes the guide is in constant communication with the athlete via a light or audio system providing immediate instructions and information on changes in the pitch, snow conditions, rhythm or combination of gates. The competitor and the guide are a team – all at speeds that can reach 100+ km/hour in the downhill.
Leitch was initially committed for two years as Marcoux’s guide but didn’t hesitate to remain through the quadrennial.
‘’I really became a lot more detailed skier and that made me a lot better,’’ said Leitch. ‘’I was really paying attention to what was going on with the conditions and the speed of the course. You have to be a consistent skier as a guide. I’m not the one you need to worry about; the focus needs to be on Mac.’’
Shortly after the Paralympics, 21-year-old Leitch announced his retirement from competitive sport. He will focus on his studies with a goal to get a business degree.
Meanwhile Marcoux will be working hard this summer to get ready for a new season.
“I’m taking it year by year right now but I’m still having a ton of fun skiing,’’ he said. ‘’Now there’s an opportunity for a skier to enter a new and unique adventure.’’