In the whirlwind of his sport and life, Alyson Charles finds a way to take refuge in his inner peace. For this rising star of speed skating in Canada, the Sunday training leave allows her to go to church.
At the Galilee Evangelical Church in the borough of Montreal-Nord, the faithful may not know that they are sitting next to a skater just outside a successful career in the global short track industry.
The athlete, who has won five individual podium finishes in her first World Cup season, including a 1,000-meter victory in Salt Lake City a year ago, is turning into a young practitioner as young as 21 when she blends in among the regulars of the Haitian community during Sunday worship.
"It's important to me because I'm a Christian and I'm a believer. My relationship with God brings me back to gratitude, just like saying thank you, if only for the privilege of breathing, "she explains wisely.
A personal choice
As a child, Alyson accompanied her parents – Ralph Charles and Carole Theoret – to this church of the Baptist movement every week. She remembers that around the age of 12, the words of the gospel called her. It is now on a personal basis that she says to invest herself in her religious life.
"I did not have to impose a way of life on Alyson. I always had an open mind with her, so I want her to be that way too. When she does something, it's because she wants it. She has a good enough confidence not to be swayed, "says her father.
To each his spirituality
Such a practice of faith is striking in our day, even more so by an athlete of her generation, overburdened by her studies in administration and six days of training a week, sometimes including two daily sessions on the ice. Maurice-Richard arena.
He still has time, it seems, to add social action to his multiple obligations. Every Sunday at 10 am, she shares the good and the good by leading the Sunday School for the children before going to join the adults later in the day for the celebration of the two-hour prayer.
"I'm one of the few of my age in the church, there may be a dozen, but it allows me to realize that each person has their own spirituality. There are some who do not have one, but it's just as good. Each person is different. Whether I'm the only one or there are others, it's not important. Me, I want to project the image of a genuine person, not only in the skate, but also outside. I want to show how I am and where I come from, "says the skater who contributed to the bronze medal of the women's relay at the last world championships.
Behind the locomotive Kim Boutin, the wagons of Alyson Charles and Courtney Lee Sarault seem well clutched to consider a progression of the Canadian women's team by the Olympics of 2022. Certainly, among these three leaders of the team, there will be one, guided by his spiritual approach, to influence the group with his work ethic.
"Sometimes there are more difficult moments of motivation after less satisfactory results. But generally, I stay healthy, "she says.
"I'm trying to remember that I have control over what's going on now. For the past, I can not change anything and, for what will happen in the future, I do not have control. What can I do today and right now on the ice to become better? It is useless to project me too much into the future. This way of thinking helps me keep focus on my tasks. "
From the simplicity of sport, he sometimes escapes someone with something noble …
The fate of his grandfather dictated that of Alyson
"Alyson would have had a lot of fun with his grandfather. He was a man so close to the world. "
Ralph Charles can only simulate the relationship that his own father developed with his daughter Alyson, who became a pride in the Haitian community of Montreal. The leader of the Canadian team and her brother, Olivier, personify a new generation of the Charles family that would not exist in Quebec if a tragic event did not dictate fate.
Ralph Charles lived with his six brothers and sisters in Saint-Marc, about 100 kilometers north of Port-au-Prince. One day their life changed when their father tragically died in a car accident. Ralph was 15 years old. A few years later, her older sister emigrated to Montreal, an initiative that would then encourage their widowed mother and all her family to choose Quebec as a new home in 1987.
Odilon Charles will never have known, but this fatality has procured in Quebec one of the jewels of the international speed skating competition. Not only does his granddaughter Alyson continue our tradition of excellence in the sport, but at the same time she is a source of pride for Haiti and the culture of her ancestors.
"It's something that's part of me and I cherish it," said the skater who competed in four world juniors before her promotion with the World Cup team last season.
"If it can inspire at least one young person in the Haitian community, I would be happy," says the 21-year-old, who speaks Creole, even if "we quickly detect (it has) an accent! "
When the political and economic conditions in Haiti allow, she would like to visit for the first time the country of origin of her father. In the meantime, she immerses herself in culture by rubbing shoulders with her uncles and aunts, cousins, and especially her grandmother, "who has been very strong in taking care of her family."
Since being introduced to skating at the age of 5, an activity little known to her community, Alyson Charles has found happiness in this sport, from her first competitions with the Montreal-St-Michel club to the Canadian team. .
"I appreciate what I have and what I have done. There are some who will never have the chance I had. I have parents who have always supported me and I have a community behind me. The people I met since my debut at the Saint-Michel club to my coaches and my entourage now, I realize have always been privileged. "