Honored on various occasions since their return from China, the Olympic and Paralympic athletes and the coaches of the Beijing Games were entitled to a final lap of honor when the Prime Minister, François Legault, received them on Tuesday at the National Assembly.
Lunch at Le Parlementaire restaurant, guided tour of the premises and presentation in the Blue Room before question period, the athletes then received a tribute from the four main parties.
Triple medalist in Beijing, Steven Dubois greatly appreciated his day, he who had been honored in Terrebonne by ministers Isabelle Charest and Pierre Fitzgibbon a few weeks ago.
"It's fun that the government takes the time to honor us and feel their support," said the short-track speed skater who covered himself in gold in the Chinese capital in the 5,000m relay in addition to winning silver in the 1500m and bronze in the 500m. It warms my heart and makes me feel special. »
Present at the National Assembly in 2018 after collecting three medals in Pyeongchang, Kim Boutin never tires of it.
"It's always an honor to be received in the National Assembly," said the short track skater who won bronze in the 500m in Beijing. I take a liking to it. We can be proud of what we have accomplished. »
In the footsteps of his father
Miha Fontaine walked in the footsteps of her father, Nicolas, who had been received into the National Assembly in 1994 on his return from the Lillehammer Games in the company of Minister Isabelle Charest, who had brought home a silver medal from Norway. in the 3000m relay in short track speed skating.
"It's really special," he said. I had been honored at Lac-Beauport and in Quebec, but it's big to be received at the National Assembly. My dad warned me to bring my medal and I'm glad I did. »
Prime Minister's apology
After mentioning that he felt like a little guy in the company of the best athletes, that he was a big fan and that he had followed their exploits closely during the Beijing Games, François Legault apologized.
“In the context of the pandemic, I am sure that there are some of you who were after me when we banned certain things, mentioned the Prime Minister. I apologize, but it was for the good of the vulnerable. »
Mr. Legault also took the opportunity to encourage athletes to use their notoriety and meet young people.
"You inspire a lot of people and I want you to use your notoriety to go to schools. Sport promotes academic success and perseverance. You are role models. »
Fontaine will also respect the will of the Prime Minister.
"Even though I graduated only a year ago, the management of my high school [La Seigneurie] invited me to speak at the prom," said the bronze medalist in the team event. mixed in acrobatic jump. Due to the pandemic, I had not lived my prom last year, but I am very happy that they can live it this year. »
COC Chief of Sport Eric Myles was also present, as was the Chinese Consul General in Montreal, Chen Xueming.
"It's important to be here in support of the athletes," said Myles, who has just returned from a two-week stay in Paris ahead of the 2024 Games. more important at the Games. It's always a good time to thank them. »