COVID-19 | “Really pocket on the part of Canada to do that to the athletes”

After the runner Charles Philibert-Thiboutot three weeks ago, the freestyle skier Mikaël Kingsbury deplores the maintenance of the two-week quarantine for the athletes returning from their trip.

Posted on June 5, 2021 at 8:00 a.m.

Simon drouin

Normally, Mikaël Kingsbury would prepare his ski bag for a snow course in Oregon in two weeks. Instead, he will take out his swimsuit for training on the water ramp.

Tired of the two-week quarantine returning travelers to Canada must comply with, the Olympic freestyle skiing champion decided to cancel his participation in a Canadian team camp at Mount Hood later this month. .

The low vertical drop offered at the Timberline station trail, open all year round, tipped the scales. Kingsbury found it more useful to continue his indoor training in a private gym in Saint-Henri and at the Lac-Beauport water ramp, where he practices his jumps.

“I just came back from a camp in Canmore, Sunshine, where I did the job I wanted,” he explained over the phone Thursday. The camp at Mount Hood would be more of the same. I feel like I have achieved my goals. I don’t want to quarantine for that. ”

Kingsbury went through three strict two-week quarantines last season. One after his fracture of two dorsal vertebrae, suffered in Finland before the start of the season. Another after his two World Cup victories in Deer Valley, where he made his recovery. One last on his return from the World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where he added two crowns to his hunting roster.

A fourth for nine days of skiing in June? No thank you, even though the Beijing Olympics are fast approaching.

“I find it a bit heavy to live with,” Kingsbury explained. The stay at the hotel while awaiting the result of a negative test for COVID-19 and the 14 days at home must be done away from relatives, otherwise they must be subject to the same conditions of isolation, he stressed.

The Olympic champion deplores that the Canadian government does not grant an exemption to athletes, often fully vaccinated, who return from competitions where they are generally subject to very strict sanitary conditions. He cites the Almaty Worlds, where he was tested “every 48 hours” and only rubbed shoulders with 10 members of his team.

“When you come back home, you have to take a test again, go to a hotel, quarantine yourself, isolate yourself for two weeks. This is rough. I sympathize with the summer athletes who have to go through this right now. The Games are in a month and a half. “

Seriously, it’s really pocket-sized for the Government of Canada to do that to the athletes. It’s just a shame when you see what’s going on in other countries.

Mikaël Kingsbury

The 28-year-old skier adds that if he left for the United States, he would only have to pass a screening test before boarding the plane and could then engage in his activities as soon as he lands. Finland in November offered almost as flexible conditions to foreigners.

“At this point, I don’t understand. I don’t know the percentages, but a lot of people are vaccinated. I understand quarantines, it prevents people from traveling to Mexico. “

Athletes, we’re not going to Cancún. We go to places much more strict than in Quebec. Give us a little break when we get home. We want to train for important events.

Mikaël Kingsbury

Angry, Mikaël Kingsbury, who is not used to giving rants? “No, I’m just tired,” he said, anxious not to embarrass himself and especially sorry for his friends from summer sports.

“I know and I am sure there are people who are doing what they can to help us. I thank them. But it’s not enough. ”

The runner Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, currently in Europe to try to qualify for Tokyo, had also deplored a “terrible situation” for the Canadian athletes in Press three weeks ago.

Read the article “The situation is terrible”

Kingsbury is asking Heritage Canada, which covers the sports sector, for an “exemption” for athletes returning from abroad for competitions or training. He is ready for testing at any time upon his return.

In the fall, he intends to put away his jersey and “chase the snow”, probably for stays of three weeks to one month in Europe. With the hope that the situation will improve and that his demands will find an attentive ear in the political sphere.

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