Conjuring harmony between athletics and academics is a deeply personal journey. For some, it’s as elusive as Nirvana, a long and arduous struggle achievable only after much sacrifice and self-reflection. For others, the integration is a seamless progression of the healthy body, healthy mind ethos. High test scores and high performance sport come as easily as kick and glide, and excellence in the classroom comes quickly.
Alberta World Cup Academy Athletes Delphine Duvernay-Tardif and Dominique Moncoin-Groulx are two skiers who thrive when studies and fitness are balanced. They were recently named 2015 recipients of the Thomas/Fedun Foundation Education Bursary. Each will receive $1000 which will aid in their studies while they train and compete under the AWCA banner. Both are new to the Academy, having moved to Canmore from Quebec over the summer. Moncoin-Groulx is a Gatineau native who grew up with the Nakertok program before switching to the Pierre Harvey Training Centre. Duvernay-Tardif is a product of the Canadian National Talent Squad and considered one of the best juniors in the country.
Duvernay-Tardif, 19, will use the funds to continue her CEGEP studies, while Moncoin-Groulx will continue to pursue his Kinesiology degree at the Universite de Laval through correspondence.
“It’s definitely a really nice push for me to keep going to school. It makes it easier to combine everything and it’s definitely really appreciated,” Moncoin-Groulx said. He is able to complete several elective courses in french which count towards his degree, while furthering his ski career with the AWCA. Meanwhile, Duvernay-Tardiff is able to finish her CEGEP courses.
“For me, it was clear to focus more this year on skiing, but keep studying, as it was important to have a balance,” Duvernay-Tardiff said. This is the second year the bursary program has granted funds to AWCA skiers. Olympian and AWCA member Brittany Webster and Jack Carlyle received the bursary last year.
The bursary is the brainchild of Don Thomas and Barb Fedun, who are longstanding advocates for education and cross-country skiing. Both have translated their love of skiing and academics into a foundation, which will continue to support the educational goals of AWCA athletes. Both Duvernay-Tardiff and Moncoin-Groulx said the bursary has given them some financial breathing room, as it has reduced the number of hours they have to work. Instead of working long shifts on heavy training days, Moncoin-Groulx said he is now able to work less and focus more on training and school. That time is important, as Duvernay-Tardiff wants to represent Canada this season at World Junior Championships, while Moncoin-Groulx’s aim is a trip to U23 World Championships and perhaps an appearance on Ski Tour Canada. He said it would be ‘really sick’ to race in his hometown of Gatineau and adopted home of Canmore.”It’s nice not only to have your focus on skiing. I am able to take one class this semester and have already completed four courses,” Moncoin-Groulx said. “Once I’m done my ski career, I will have one or two years of university done. The more I do now, the less I will have to do. I am definitely going to finish my degree when I’m done skiing.” “I wanted to do something different, and I can do my classes online. It’s nice to have the support,” Duvernay-Tardiff said. “It’s really important, even if it’s only one class. You’re staying in school, and if something goes wrong, you can go back.”Alberta World Cup Academy Developing Canada’s future cross-country skiers. Based in Canmore, AB