With eight months to go until the Olympic Games in Sochi, speed skater and future pharmacist Mathieu Giroux—who won the gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games—has received a big boost from Uniprix Group.
Mathieu, the first Quebec athlete to win an Olympic medal in long-track speed skating since Gaétan Boucher in Sarajevo in 1984, made a difficult decision last year when he opted to train in Montreal until the next Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
A student In the doctor of pharmacy program at Université de Montréal, Mathieu received an ultimatum from Speed Skating Canada last fall—either train at one of the two national training centers in Quebec City or Calgary or be scrubbed from the national team and deprived of his monthly stipend. Mathieu preferred to remain in Montreal and pursue his studies while continuing to train on his own for the Sochi Games. The dispute was finally resolved in his favor and he was able to complete the school year.
But since he is studying and training for the Olympics at the same time, he has to cover tuition, training, and living expenses. “I am very proud and honored that Uniprix Group is partnering with me on this journey to the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi” said Mathieu. ”Uniprix’s support makes a big difference in my ability to prepare and will undoubtedly help me attain a higher level of performance going forward.” He added, “I’m also delighted to have a partner from the field in which I plan to spend my post-athletic career.”
After focusing on his studies over the past three years, Giroux will join his teammates on the national team in Calgary in July to begin final preparations to ensure his selection for the Sochi Games. After completing his undergraduate studies he will be assured a spot in the STOP internship program, which will allow him to complete his Doctorate in Pharmacy.
According to Uniprix Group president and CEO, François Castonguay, “It makes perfect sense that the largest association of pharmacists and pharmacy owners in Quebec support Mathieu. Like all Quebecers, Uniprix Group is counting on Mathieu’s discipline, tenacity, and pride to carry him through the coming months—both on the ice and in the classroom!”