Mac Marcoux’s love of speed carried him to Canada’s first gold medal of the 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympic Games. The visually impaired skier has been overcoming obstacles since his days as a student at St. Paul Catholic School.
Today, the 20-year-old shared his inspirational story with the students at his former school, answer questions, and give them a behind-the-scenes look at what life was like at the 2018 Games.
Now one of the most decorated Paralympians in Canadian history (Marcoux also won three medals as a 16-year-old at the Sochi 2014 Games), Mac Marcoux was given a boost early in his career by the Petro-Canada FACE (Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence) program. The program sees the Petro-Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) award grants ($5,000 to the athlete and $5,000 to their coach) to inspirational athletes deemed to have great potential to represent Canada at Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tomorrow’s Team Canada). Marcoux received his grant in 2012.
The program also gives selected athletes the chance to inspire youth in their hometowns.
Marcoux started losing his vision when he was eight to Stargardt’s disease, and was legally blind by nine. He currently has some peripheral vision, but no central vision. Visually impaired ski racers navigate the course thanks to the help of a guide, who communicates through radios in their helmets.
“The guide explains what I can’t see in front of me,” says Marcoux. “I can see enough that I can see where Jack (his guide) is going, but to help me out he gives me a heads up when it’s bumpy or when there’s some rolls and things like that.”
After speaking with students about following their dreams, no matter what obstacles are put in front of them, Marcoux will also help present a special framed photo to the school on behalf of the FACE program. He will also deliver Olympic keepsakes to the students.