Three consecutive silver medals in the Americas Cup triathlon series put Emy Legault of Quebec where she wanted to be: in contention. “It’s a big step for me to race against Kristen Kasper and Rachel Klammer and actually be in the game,” Legault said of his podium finish in Sarasota earlier this year. “Even a year ago I would have been straight back.” From questioning his place in the sport to three consecutive podium finishes, 2022 is proving to be a breakthrough for Legault.
Legault has been in triathlon since childhood, successfully climbing the ranks with the dream of representing Canada at the Olympics. “When I was fourteen or fifteen, it became a dream to go to the Olympics, but it wasn’t until I was eighteen that it became a goal – when it was more realistic,” said Legault. At the age of nineteen, Legault earned a spot on the national team for the first time, but after a fall at the world championships and a lackluster year afterwards, Legault lost his spot on the team. . Bravely, she then accepted an invitation to move to Hong Kong, following her coach, and train with the national team there as a professional training partner. “It really helped me develop as an athlete and as a person. I had never been to Asia before. It was a totally different culture, but I loved seeing the city, living with it. the team, training with them and seeing more of Asia,” Legault says. “But sometimes it was difficult because I was away from home and couldn’t go home when I wanted to.”
When the pandemic hit, Legault was in Australia for a run, so she was forced to fly straight back to Canada. Without returning to Hong Kong first, she didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to her teammates, let alone collect her belongings. She also found herself without a contract and without a coach. “I cried a lot at the start, admits Legault. “I didn’t have a coach for two weeks. I didn’t know what was happening or what I was going to do. I didn’t know if I wanted to continue with triathlon. There comes a time when you haven’t improved in years, you don’t know what to do anymore,” she explains.
Related: Legault takes silver in Sarasota as Kasper and Murray take the wins
However, following a difficult transition, Legault realized that she had to be at home in Canada if she wanted to continue. She resumed training with her local triathlon club and running with her sister on the weekends. “I loved my experience in Hong Kong, but I hadn’t realized how much difference being at home made for me. I’m not always at home because I have to go to training camps, but I know that in a few months I will be back home,” said Legault. “My family is part of it. My parents are a big part of me in staying mentally healthy and my sister is my best friend.
Legault has also reconnected with his original coach, Kyla Rollinson, and during the pandemic “there have been major changes” to his run. “Running was always the part that ruined my race. Swimming and biking would be fine and then everyone would pass me by,” Legault says. During an altitude training camp in Ecuador in December 2021, Legault’s run finally showed some real racing promise. With two races in Chile, Legault set his sights on Brazilian Luisa Baptista to test his new form of running. “I asked my coach: ‘you think she’s beatable?’ And she said yes. That was it.”
In Viña del Mar, Legault got on Baptista’s heels: “I felt like we were going so fast. I felt like we were sprinting. But I thought, I’ll just see if I can do a mile. Mentally taking the race in small chunks, Legault stayed with Baptista stride for stride. It was a final sprint and although Baptista took the win, finishing second and being in contention for victory was a big step for Legault.
Only a week later, the two would meet again in Villarrica. Coming out of T2 with a lead, Legault set a steady pace, expecting Baptista to catch up quickly. “During the first race, she never let me pass. If I came over her shoulder, she would speed up. So in the second race I was just ready to follow her. But it took him three kilometers to catch up with me. I was confused at first when she sat on my shoulder. I didn’t expect to direct it,” says Legault. The two crossed back and fourth for the ten kilometers, but eventually Baptista beat Legault again in the sprint.
Related: Legault wins second Americas Cup silver in two weeks
Legault would find himself in a third sprint finish a few weeks later in Sarasota, this time finishing second to Kristen Kasper with Rachel Klammer completing the podium. said with a smile.
After three consecutive podium finishes, Legault embarked on the Triathlon World Championship Series race in Yokohama, where she finished 21st. From there, she embarked on a two-year campaign for Olympic qualification. His next race will be in Huatulco, Mexico on June 18. This year, she is also aiming for the Commonwealth Games and the end of her university studies. While she credits her improved running as the key to her breakthrough, she says it wasn’t just about physical changes. “One of the most important things – and it’s something I can’t ignore – is that we realized that for me being at home is happy and a happy athlete is a fast athlete.”
Emy Legault’s equipment:
Wetsuit: Blue Seventy Helix
Goggles: Missile Vorgee
Tri Suit: Canadian National Team (2XU)
Bike: Specialized Tarmac SL7
Components: Shimano Ultegra Di2
Cycling Shoes: Specialized Sworks 7 Vent
Wheels: Roval CL50
Running Shoes: Brooks Ghost, Asics Speed
Sunglasses: Oakley Radar / Sutro / Kato
Technology: Garmin Forerunner 945 – Garmin Edge 520
Nutrition: Naak, Brix
This story originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Triathlon Canada Review.