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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

CAROLINE BRUNET

Inducted in 2009

Member Details

Date of Birth: March 20, 1969
Place of Birth: Quebec City, Quebec
Sport: Canoe / Kayak Sprint
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1995-2003

10 Gold Medals, World Championships

1996

Silver Medal in the K-1 500m at the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games

1999

Lou Marsh Memorial Trophy

2000

Silver Medal in the K-1 500m at the Sydney Summer Olympic Games

2004

Bronze Medal in the K-1 500m at the Athens Summer Olympic Games

2009

Inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Honoured Member CAROLINE BRUNET
Inspire

Story

Caroline Brunet made her international racing debut more than twenty years ago at the 1987 Junior World Championships. A shy eighteen-year old with a brilliant smile, Caroline was a promising addition to the Canadian team. That team had a few remarkable successes at those championships, but most of the time we were overmatched by our European opponents. And frankly, that was exactly what Canada had come to expect. A year later, Caroline was taking the first steps towards changing those expectations forever, as she competed against the world's best athletes at the Olympic Games. To make the 1988 Olympic team as a nineteen-year-old was a significant achievement. But for Caroline, it was only the start of something much bigger: four more Olympic Games; three Olympic medals; ten World Championship titles and another eleven World Championship silver and bronze medals. She won the Lou Marsh trophy in 1999 as Canada's most outstanding athlete, and she was Canada's flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Caroline's performances, of course, speak for themselves. Her record of sustained domination and Olympic success may outstrip anything achieved by any other Canadian summer sport athlete, ever. Within our sport, her record is unmatched: between 1993 and 2004, she won more World Championship and Olympic medals than all the Canadian canoe-kayak athletes who preceded her put together. But her legacy to our sport can never be defined by numbers alone. It is often noted that Canada has enjoyed a long history of success in sprint canoe-kayak. That history can be divided into two eras. Before Caroline Brunet, our international successes were intermittent and rare. No Canadian canoe-kayak athlete had ever won more than one World Championship or Olympic gold medal. Starting with Caroline, the successes have been steady, and our expectations have risen. Caroline Brunet is a big part of the reason for those high expectations. She was, from the beginning, unwavering in her commitment and uncompromising in her preparation. She turned her success into a challenge to all those around her, demanding that her teammates, her coaches, and the entire Canadian sport system be better than they had ever been before. She questioned everything, and the foundation of her question was simple: "I'm going to be the best - are you coming with me?" It's lucky for all of us that she rarely accepted "no" as an answer. (Peter Giles was a member of the Canadian national kayak team from 1988 through 1996, and remains active as a leader in the sport. He is currently the Commodore of CanoeKayak Canada.)


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