Myriam Bédard

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Myriam Bédard, MSC (born December 22, 1969) is a Canadian biathlete (retired), winner of two Olympic gold medals.


Olympic career

Born in Neufchâtel, Quebec, Bédard learned marksmanship as a member of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets' 2772 cadet corps, which she joined at the age of 15, and participated in her first biathlon event at age 15. She became Canadian junior champion in the sport in 1987. In 1991, Bédard was the second Canadian to win a biathlon World Cup event, and she formed part of the Canadian team at the 1992 Winter Olympics, in Albertville, France – the first time women competed in biathlon at the Olympics – and Bédard won a bronze medal in the 15 km. The following year she won her first major title, as she won the 7.5 km event at the World Championships, also placing second in the 15 km race. At the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, she improved this performance, and won both individual events. She was also awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy in 1994 for top performance by a Canadian athlete, as well as the Velma Springstead Trophy for best Canadian female athlete.

She is an honorary member of the Royal Military College of Canada, student # S120.

Post-Olympic career

She briefly retired from the sport to give birth to her daughter (the father was another biathlete, Jean Paquet). Her comeback was not very successful, being hampered by injuries. After the 1998 Winter Olympics, Bédard retired from biathlon. She later announced an attempt to make the Canadian Olympic team as a speed skater, but did not pursue this goal for long. In 2004, Bédard was one of eight persons (and the only woman) in the International Biathlon Union's executive board, where she served as the IBU's vice-president responsible for special issues.

On February 27, 2004, in the context of the sponsorship scandal that came to light soon after Prime Minister Jean Chrétien left office, Bédard asserted that she had been forced to resign from her marketing department job at Via Rail in 2002 shortly after raising concerns about the company's dealings with advertiser Groupaction. Responses to her allegations led to the firings a few days later of Via Rail chair Jean Pelletier and president Marc LeFrançois.

However, in testimony before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in late March 2004, Bédard made further allegations that were met with widespread skepticism: she claimed that she had been told that Groupaction was involved in drug trafficking, that her partner Nima Mazhari had personally convinced Prime Minister Chrétien to keep Canada out of the war in Iraq, and that Québécois race car legend Jacques Villeneuve had been paid $12 million to wear a Canadian flag on his uniform. Villeneuve strongly denied the latter allegation, calling it "ludicrous."

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