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 brought her to two Olympic Games, including London 2012 where she was Canada’s only female paddler to qualify, and two Pan Am Games, where she has won three career medals. She has also competed at every ICF World Championship since 2005, as well as the 2003 World Junior Championships. 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.
Family: Late father Jean Fournel paddled at Montreal 1976… Mother Guylaine Saint-George 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… Boyfriend 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…
NOTABLE INTERNATIONAL RESULTS
OG: 2012 – 21st (K-1 200m), 14th (K-1 500m); 2008 – 10th (K-4 500m)
PAG: 2011 – SILVER (K-1 500m); 2003 – GOLD (K-4 500m), SILVER (K-2 500m)
ICF WCh: 2014 – 10th (K-4 500m), 14th (K-1 500m); 2013 – 6th (K-4 500m), 14th (K-1 500m)