Biography:

Hugues Fournel hails from an accomplished paddling family. Both parents represented Canada on the international stage; his late father Jean at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games and his mother Guylaine at the Pan American Championships. When he and older sister Émilie became Olympic teammates at London 2012, it was a way to emotionally identify with their father. They made sure to walk into the Closing Ceremony side by side after achieving the dream of being at the Games together. Always a fan of the quick sprint races, Fournel competed at London 2012 in the K-2 events with partner Ryan Cochrane, making the A final in the Olympic debut of the K-2 200m. Together they had won gold in the K-2 200m at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara. They also reached the podium in the K-2 200m at the 2012 World Cup stop in Poznan, Poland leading up to the Olympic Games. After competing with Richard Dober at the 2014 World Championships, Fournel reunited with Cochrane in 2015 and the duo made the A final in the K-2 200m at the ICF World Championships, finishing ninth. Added to the Olympic team just days before Rio 2016 began, Cochrane and Fournel made it to the A final of the K-2 200m for the second straight Games.

Getting to Know…

Family: Father Jean Fournel competed in the K-4 1000m at Montreal 1976 and remains his hero  despite passing away after a battle with cancer when Hugues was 8… Mother Guylaine Saint-Georges was also a competitive paddler… His parents founded the Pointe-Claire Canoe Club… Older sister Émilie Fournel is a four-time Pan Am Games medallist… Younger sister Laurence Hamel… Has two dogs Porto and Elliott… Getting into the Sport: Started kayaking at age 7 when he and Émilie joined the Lachine Canoe Club, but had been around the sport his entire childhood… After trying many other sports, it was Émilie qualifying for Beijing 2008 that proved it was possible to live up to his father’s legacy… Outside Interests: Studied Communications via distance through l’Université du Québec before transferring to Public Relations at Laval University… In the off-season loves to do the sports he can’t do when kayaking, such as biking, tennis, cross-country skiing…