Overcoming Adversity: Mary-Sophie Harvey’s Inspiring Journey to Pan American Games Success

Before leaving for Santiago for the Pan American Games last week, Mary-Sophie Harvey thought back to those of 2019. “I thank the Mary of four years ago for continuing. »

Published at 2:55 a.m. Updated at 6:00 a.m.

In the months leading up to the international competition, the swimmer was going through injuries and depression. She was dealing with an eating disorder. And she attempted suicide. Mentally and physically, nothing was right.

“It’s crazy because four years ago, I was getting used to the idea, I was saying to myself: maybe my good swimming years are behind me. I was trying to be correct with that,” she tells us on the phone.

Without really knowing why, she continued swimming. The 2019 Pan American Games ultimately represented a new start in his career. She won four medals there.

Last Thursday, four years later, she returned from this same competition with… seven medals, including two individual.

PHOTO FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ARCHIVES

Mary-Sophie Harvey after her victory in the 200m freestyle

Now I look at it and clearly my best years were ahead of me.

Mary-Sophie Harvey

“It’s really been years that [sont allées] improving, getting better and better. I had so much fun at these Games. That was my goal. »

Regarding times or positions, the Quebecer did not have specific expectations. Since the Pan American Games take place at the start of the swimming season, she was especially interested in seeing where she stood compared to her opponents.

“Of course I was kind of expecting to have a few medals. Seven out of eight events, I don’t know! But it was a pleasant surprise. »

PHOTO SILVIA IZQUIERDO, ARCHIVES ASSOCIATED PRESS

Canadian swimmers Danielle Hanus, Rachel Nicol, Mary-Sophie Harvey and Maggie Mac Neil pose with their gold medals after their victory in the 4 x 100m medley at the Pan American Games.

Win, recover, start again

The first medal she won was gold in the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay.

“I started the relay with a personal best time. That’s when I said to myself: ah OK, I think it could be a great week! », Relates the friendly 24-year-old athlete.

PHOTO MAURO PIMENTEL, ARCHIVES AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Mary-Sophie Harvey during the 200m individual medley

His second medal was gold in the 200 meter freestyle. It was his very first career individual gold medal on the international senior scene. Not a small success.

“Hearing the national anthem for the first time is something I’ve been waiting for for a long time! […] It’s sure that it will stay with me, I really enjoyed the moment. »

The athlete had to manage his energy adequately during the week. When asked if she ever felt exhausted, the young woman said: oh my god, Yes ! “. This is because the athletes had little time between the end of the preliminaries and the start of the finals. “It was really, really, really hard physically. Especially since I was running every session. My hair was wet for six days! »

“The fourth day, I was cold all day and I didn’t want to jump in the water, to be cold,” she continues. It was tough, but I knew I still had to perform well. In big weeks like this, it’s certain that not all the events will go well and with which I will be entirely satisfied. »

PHOTO DYLAN MARTINEZ, ARCHIVES REUTERS

Souvenir photo after the relay victory with her teammates

After winning her first three medals, Harvey began to believe in the possibility of tying the record of eight. She talked about it with her coach. She knew, however, that the 100m freestyle would be her toughest event of the eight she competed in, given that she has only been swimming it since last April. Result: fourth place, by 14 hundredths of a second…

“It made me sad. I shed a little tear. […] I was a little sad, but at the same time, it was my best time, so I can’t be too mad at myself. »

In total, the Trifluvienne collected three gold medals, two silver and two bronze. The last of all, that of silver in the 4 x 100 m medley, crowned a long and eventful week.

“I was really emotional on that podium because that’s where I was able to take a step back. »

PHOTO DYLAN MARTINEZ, ARCHIVES REUTERS

Mary-Sophie Harvey hugs American Camille Spink after winning the 200m freestyle.

Even more

If Mary-Sophie Harvey went to the Pan American Games without specific expectations, she returned with a great thirst for victories.

“Every time I hit the wall, I was a little surprised by my times at this level, at this time of year. I definitely want more. »

This “plus” is the Olympic Games. Its results from the last week bode well for what is to come in the coming months. “These are good times, but I’m going to need a little more for the Olympic trials,” she notes.

During the Tokyo Games in 2021, Harvey took part in the 4 x 200m freestyle. Once her race was over, she set herself the goals of one day participating in an Olympic final, doing an individual event and taking “a bigger place on the team for the next Games.”

“I think it’s on the right track. »

Need help ?

If you need support, if you have suicidal thoughts or if you are worried about a loved one, call 1 866 APPELLE (1 866 277-3553). A suicide prevention worker is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2023-10-28 21:48:20
#medals #Pan #American #Games

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