She helped lead Team Canada to a silver medal at the first-ever Olympic Winter Games to feature women’s hockey.
So it’s fitting that a decade and a half after helping introduce the great female game to the world at Nagano 1998, that France St-Louis will once again serve in an important leadership position at Sochi 2014.
The Canada’s National Women’s Team alumna from St-Hubert, Que., was named assistant chef de mission for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, this week by the Canadian Olympic Committee. She joins fellow assistant chef de mission, Lillehammer 1994 gold medal-winning freestyle skier Jean-Luc Brassard, and chef de mission, Lake Placid 1980 bronze medal-winning downhill skier Steve Podborski, on the prestigious Canadian team.
“If we want to become the best Olympic nation in the world, we need to gather the best-qualified Canadians to help lead our athletes and coaches,” Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut said in a news release. “France will provide an exceptional amount of experience to our Olympic athletes, as they compete against the world’s best.”
“We add the knowledge and capacity of one of this country’s greatest ice hockey athletes to our Sochi 2014 team,” Podborski added to the official Canadian Olympic Committee statement. “We have just taken one step closer to our quest in becoming the number one country in total medals at next year’s Winter Olympic Games. Our athletes and coaches have just gained access to an incredible amount of depth and perspective, from an athlete who knows what it takes to win.”
In addition to claiming silver at Nagano 1998, St-Louis has also won five gold medals at the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, including the inaugural event in 1990 in Ottawa, Ont.; 1992 in Tampere, Finland; 1994 in Lake Placid, N.Y.; 1997 in Kitchener, Ont.; and 1999 in Espoo, Finland.
She has received several impressive accolades in the sports world as a result of her achievements on the ice, including the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) Breakthrough Award in recognition of her immense contribution to women in sport, and her 2003 induction into the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame.
“As an athlete who has already competed in an Olympic Games, I know how valuable it is to be surrounded by the best coaches and individuals that are equipped with the proper support,” current Canada’s National Women’s Team member Caroline Ouellette told the Canadian Olympic Committee. “Having someone of France’s standing is a great addition to our Olympic Team, because at times, having the right mentality can help you achieve your ultimate dream of winning an Olympic gold medal.”
“What an extraordinary occasion this is for me; an opportunity to be part of the Olympic Movement – something that I have believed in for many years,” St-Louis herself said in the COC statement. “I want to thank the administration at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal for being so supportive. It is going to be an honour to work alongside two incredible individuals like Steve and Jean-Luc.
“I am tremendously motivated and humbled to contribute to the Canadian Olympic Team at Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games,” she added. “I know how important it is for our athletes to be prepared both physically and mentally, in order to achieve their desired objectives, and this is exactly what I aim to deliver.”
France St-Louis teaches physical education at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal, a post-secondary institution supporting excellence in sports and raising awareness of the importance of participating in physical activity and leading a healthy lifestyle.