Biography:

With an Olympian father and brother, Émilie Fournel has been blessed with great genetics for paddling. But she is also highly competitive, always striving to be better than she was yesterday. It’s that drive that has brought her to three Olympic Games, including London 2012 where she was Canada’s only female paddler to qualify, and three Pan Am Games, where she has won four career medals. The latter includes Toronto 2015 where she was part of the K-4 500m crew that won gold for Canada’s first medal of the home Games. Fournel  has also competed at every ICF World Championship since 2005, as well as the 2003 World Junior Championships. In 2015 she won bronze in the non-Olympic long distance K-1 5000m. Fournel’s Olympic dream began as a child when she and brother Hugues were always excited to watch the Games on TV. They were also intrigued by anything related to their father Jean’s Olympic experience and training. For luck while competing, she wears one of her father’s vintage singlets under her racing kit.

Getting to know…

Family: Late father Jean Fournel paddled at Montreal 1976… Mother Guylaine Saint-Georges paddled at the Pan American Championships… Older brother Hugues Fournel is also a national team paddler who competed at London 2012… Younger sister Laurence Hamel is a synchronized swimmer… Fianc  Anders Gustafsson is a Swedish Olympic kayaker… Getting into the Sport: Started kayaking at age 8… Grew up in an active family that always desired to be outside… She was never pushed into hard training by her high performance parents; it just happened because she loved it so much… Outside Interests: Graduated from TELUQ in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science… Enjoys reading books, the news, and magazines to keep up with the outside world; exploration walks; going to the beach; biking around the city… Keeps an Instagram fitness page to keep people motivated to move… Odds and Ends: First non-family-related inspirational Olympic moment was watching Jean-Luc Brassard at Lillehammer 1994… Always travels with her iPad to take photos, skype, watch TV, listen to music, connect to the world… Nickname: Mini… Her K-1 boat is polka-dotted, the design based on the jersey awarded to the best climber at the Tour de France… Favourite motto: It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting…