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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

SYLVIE FRECHETTE

Inducted in 1999

Member Details

Date of Birth: June 27, 1967
Place of Birth: Montreal, Quebec
Sport: Synchronized Swimming
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1991

Won solo gold at World Aquatic Championships; received 7 perfect 10's and a record high score of 201.013

1992

Silver at Barcelona Olympic Games, due to a judging error

1993

Awarded Olympic Gold medal in special ceremony

1996

Atlanta Olympic Games - Team Silver medal

2006

Inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame

Honoured Member SYLVIE FRECHETTE
Inspire

Story

The life of synchronized swimmer Sylvie Fréchette has been one of continuing triumph in the face of adversity.  Showing incredible determination and sportsmanship, Fréchette overcame personal tragedy and a controversial judging error to win Olympic gold. Fréchette began synchronized swimming at the age of eight. Blessed with strength, flexibility, and long legs, the young swimmer immediately impressed coach Julie Sauvé.  As she progressed through the various levels of competition, Fréchette exhibited tremendous athletic ability and aerobic capacity, but she found it difficult to keep her movements fluid. Coach Sauvé solved this problem by choreographing her routines to music which was much better suited to Fréchette's sharper style. Judges took notice, and Frechette soon began to dominate synchro competitions across the country.  A member of the national A team from 1983-1996, Fréchette was four times the national solo champion. She claimed 25 gold medals in international competition and held two world solo titles. At the 1991 World Aquatic Championships, she received seven perfect scores and set a record with a score of 201.013. What should have been a celebration of her career became another personal challenge for her. Her fiancé tragically passed away just days before she was to leave for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Despite the pain of this loss, she attended the Games and swam the routines of her life. One judge, however, accidentally punched in a mark of 8.7 instead of 9.7. While the mistake was immediately admitted, officials refused to change Fréchette's official score and the champion swimmer was relegated to second place. While she expressed pride in swimming her best, and satisfaction in the silver medal, a messy controversy ensued. Sixteen months later, the International Swimming Federation admitted it had made an error and named Sylvie a co-gold medallist.  After this ordeal, Fréchette retired from competition for two years. Her competitive spirit returned, however, as she made a bid for the national team once more in 1994, this time with hopes of having a more enjoyable Olympic experience. The Canadian synchro team claimed silver at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and the satisfied Fréchette retired from competition for good.


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