Danielle Marcotte’s memories of the first ever Youth Olympics, currently taking place in Singapore, will always be a little bittersweet.
The only shooter at the Games from Canada and the only Yukon athlete on the national team in Singapore, the 17-year-old air pistol shooter from Pelly Crossing finished fourth overall in the junior women’s event on Monday, further securing her position as one of the best in the world.
In what she describes as, “Too close to lose,” Marcotte briefly occupied the third place spot before slipping into fourth, by the infinitesimal margin of 0.6 points.
“I feel good, but I also had that third-place (position) and I lost it,” said Marcotte, in an interview with the News from Singapore. “I’m still really happy.”
In a great example of Murphy’s Law, in the days before the biggest shoot of her career, Marcotte came down with some sort of bug, preventing her from practising the day prior to the competition. Even when she did have a practice on Saturday, the bug prevented it from being productive.
“I went in there to practise and it was so bad I had to stop early because I wasn’t doing any good to myself,” said Marcotte. “And then I didn’t practise the day before my competition because I was still really sick. So when I went into the competition I was really, really nervous and scared.”
Being in a foreign country, with plenty to see and do, Marcotte impressed herself with the restrain she showed in dealing with the illness.
“It’s a big achievement, like I’m really excited with what I did and how I worked through everything,” said Marcotte. “When I was sick, instead of going out and hanging out with friends, I sat in my room and disciplined myself to just rest, go out only to eat and then come back.
“It was hard because it was boring, but it paid off.”
With her success at the Games, expect to see more of Marcotte – not just in media within the territory, but nationwide on television. According to her father and coach, Darcy Marcotte, CTV, TSN and Rogers Sportsnet will soon be preparing stories on the young Yukoner. Both Marcotte and her father have already done interviews with Canadian speed skater Catriona Le May Doan, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and CBC broadcaster.
“Catriona has been one of Danielle’s mentors here in Singapore which has really boosted Danielle’s confidence participating here,” wrote Darcy in an e-mail to the News. “With Danielle being a small town girl from the middle of nowhere in the Yukon, and putting Pelly Crossing on the map for the world to see, is nothing more than an impossible dream come true. It’s incredible how far and how fast she has come from competing at her first air pistol competition at the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse to now be ranked fourth in the world.”
A recent graduate of Porter Creek Secondary School in Whitehorse, Marcotte received a lot of her competitive experience through her seven years as a Junior Ranger, three times winning the Canadian Junior Rangers Air Rifle Championships.
Marcotte, who has First Nations heritage, has also competed in Brazil, China, Germany, Italy and the US, taking top-spots in many of the events, plus national and provincial junior titles within Canada.
Surprisingly, Marcotte did not immediately qualify for the Youth Olympics. At the Youth Olympic Games Quota Competition last March in Guatemala City, competing against shooters from 14 other countries, Marcotte finished fourth overall among junior females, missing the bronze by just five points.
At that event the top two shooters received entry to the Youth Olympics, but since the Shooting Federation of Canada did have shooters who reached their Match Qualifying Score, the organization applied for and received a wildcard, which went to Marcotte.
More recently, in May, Marcotte competed at the Maple Leaf Open Air Gun Championships in Leduc, Alberta, winning gold in the women’s junior division and shooting the second highest score of all women at the championships, including the senior and expert divisions.
With her most recent accomplishment under her belt, Marcotte says getting a big head about it will only hurt future performances.
“It’ll be about the same,” said Marcotte. “It would probably harm me more if I go in too confident, instead of just working hard and doing my best.”
Now that her busy summer is behind her, Marcotte will be taking off a few months form competition until the Canada Winter Games next February in Halifax. However, she will be attending a training camp in Port Clinton, Ohio, in November where she will receive coaching from High Performance Coach Patrick Haynes, a Canadian Olympic coach at the Beijing Games in 2008.
In the meantime, “I can finally go out with friends and not worry about getting my rest – just go and have fun,” said Marcotte.
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