Let me please introduce you to the wonderful athlete: Coralie Boudreault…
At only 16, she already understands the life of a professional flyer… amazing and inspirational to see. By the end of our first day, I knew that I wanted to be part of her adventure…
I met Coralie last summer, July 28th, at Parachute Voltige and she surprised me right away. My friend Jordan Doriac, instructor at Skyventure Montreal told me that Mr. Boudreault would be happy to invite me to jump with his daughter. I just arrived the night before and I had a Tunnel Camp that was starting Monday morning. But he said that she was really good and would be so happy to jump with me, so with pleasure and curiosity, I sacrificed this day off to fly with this National Champion!
Competition Artistic Flying
But before I go further, you should know more about artistic flying at the competition level. The perseverance and the consistency required in our sport challenges us every day. To me, if artistic body flight – both indoors and in the sky – is the most beautiful discipline, then it is also the most demanding one. You need to stay fit and train all the time to reach the TOP level. When you are close to that, you have to push the limits of creativity to discover new positions and make them fly. Obviously, you need to also coach as much as possible to stay alert and go further in your personal comprehension of the bodyflight. Finally, you have to be fully committed and maintain a constant positive energy.
But to realize all of this, you have to come with some solid financial support that is often really hard to get and maintain and which of course can affect your motivation. The financial constraint makes you humble as it is the true limitation to your development. To finish, on top of all of this, you have to lead a strong social media battle! It is mandatory to be active to maintain the trust and the support of your sponsors, partners and followers.
This has been my life for 10 years. Now, let’s go back to this afternoon with Coralie. When I arrived at Voltige, Jeff Boudreault was waiting for me. I wanted to talk quite a lot first with Coralie before jumping. It was not fun jumps that we were about to do but definitely a real test. At the end of the day, I wanted to provide a true analysis of her progression; where she was and what to aim for the following season. She was listening with intent and was very motivated to follow all of my advices and instructions.
Once the presentation and briefing were done I was ready to jump with the Double National Champion (in Freestyle & D2W). We did only four training jumps that day, working on a freestyle test jump that I designed. Her performance proved to me that she was already capable to train for an international skydiving competition. I was really surprised!
After talking and jumping with her, I realised that she already knew and understood everything about this life I was living; all the rules, sacrifices and commitments. She was already going in a good direction to be the best on her own.
As a coach, you hope for your students to understand all of these parameters to progress in the best way, but you know it will take years to understand. Yet Coralie already got it. She had already experienced and understood what professional athletes have to deal with. How is this possible from such a young athlete? (Obviously she must have amazing parents…)
That was amazing to see and kind of inspirational for me. What a great moment. And guess what? By the end of our first day, I knew that I wanted to be part of her adventure.
In the wind
We got to fly the following day in the tunnel. She was back in this environment that she has completely mastered. (If you have not yet watched her flying in a competition, please go watch her, there is a video at the end of this article. You don’t want to miss that.) Flying again together was great but definitely not enough for me now I knew her potential. I checked my planning and proposed to coach her again on a real freestyle camp in Skydive Algarve from December 27th to January 4th. Her parents, Jeff and Stephanie did not hesitate one second to say yes. That tells me a lot about them and their dedication towards Coralie’s development in the sport.
In the sky
Once at Skydive Algarve, we did 50 jumps in seven days. I was coaching and flying with her as cameraman. I was right about Coralie. Teamwork and progression were fantastic and these jumps were among the best I had in my career. You could think I am over-reacting, but jumping in the best places in the world is not the only thing that matters for a skydiver. Yes, it is a huge privilege and I love it, but some special jumps also depend on who you jump with. Don’t forget that these jumps were very demanding for me technically. Following artistic flyers is a real challenge and the pressure is even stronger when you fly with somebody that is giving the best. You have to surpass yourself.
Coralie managed to constantly improve her flying. She learned so fast and with such professionalism that I decided to finish the camp simulating a real competition. With only 40 training jumps, we managed to do the seven competition rounds (in the official order with no joker if you miss a jump). And of course, she nailed it! What a privilege it was for me to work with an athlete of this quality and finish her first camp this way!
This mind-blowing 16 year-old girl has a very solid experience with her 270 hours in the tunnel plus all the competitions she has participated in and won, but to me she has something else… I was honored to coach her and I am happy to tell you that – even if she says I speak too loudly – she is keeping me as her coach for 2020. Coralie is definitely very special to me now and she deserves that I continue to do my best to help her with her progression.
Be ready to see amazing things from this little champion!
Coralie’s Winning Routine
… Or see Greg’s website for a CanPara pictorial