Canadian Olympic hero Alex Harvey on the Gatineau Loppet and life after retiring from competition
Alex Harvey is one of the most recognizable and decorated cross-country skiers in the country. An air guitar strumming world champion and three-time Olympian. And since his retirement from competitive skiing he has been on a mission to get people, young people especially, outside living a healthy lifestyle. And he’d like people to start this weekend, at the Gatineau Loppet.
The 42nd edition of the largest international cross-country ski event in Canada is set for February 14 to 16, 2020 on the trails of Gatineau Park. Harvey is a race ambassador and will be on hand throughout the race weekend with the team from Salomon.
“I’m really excited about heading to Outaouais for the Gatineau Loppet,” says Harvey, who put an exclamation point on his career last March in Quebec City, where he claimed a silver medal in his final event, the World Cup Finals 15-kilometer mass start. “After more than ten winters spent overseas, I can finally witness with my own eyes all the wonderful things the Gatineau Loppet has to offer!”
Check out the message from Alex Harvey below.
Every year, the Gatineau Loppet attracts close to 2,300 skiers of all ages and levels. A member of the Worldloppet League, it is part of a circuit regrouping the 20 largest cross-country ski races around the world, including the Vasaloppet in Sweden and La Tranjurassienne in France.
Harvey has yet to compete in the Loppet but remembers skiing the same trails during Quebec Cup races when he was younger. And he looks forward to returning to participate.
He will also take part in a number of social events during the 2020 Gatineau Loppet.
“It’s a great honour, for organizers as well as participants, to have the chance to meet Alex Harvey at this year’s Gatineau Loppet,” said Jean-François Rochefort, president of the Gatineau Loppet. “We look forward to introducing him to our program and welcoming him that weekend.”
In addition to his involvement with many social, charitable, school and sport-related causes, the native of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, in the Greater Quebec City region finished up his law degree and set to work on his legal career at the beginning of January. Oh, and he got married.
This guy didn’t waste any time on skis, and he’s the same now that he’s retired. Full speed ahead.
“I was always studying during my career, part-time,” he says. “Things kind of fell into place fairly quickly, although I had a bit of a plan. I like to stay busy. And at the same time, I have a lot more time to hang out with friends and family.”
During his distinguished career, he competed at the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympic Games, finished third in the overall World Cup standings on two occasions, and collected more than 30 World Cup podiums, including nine wins.
Although Harvey says it was nice to be home with family and friends over Christmas holidays for the first time in a decade, he does miss the competition and the camaraderie.
“Of course, I miss my group, my teammates, my coaches. over time we became a very tightly knit group,” he says. “So I just miss all these guys and all these girls. I spent so much time with them in the last 10 years sharing highs and lows together, that’s something I miss.”
Harvey grew up near Mont-Sainte-Anne skiing the Nordic trails directly out from his backyard and he’s back living in the same area now.
“It’s the same thing now as the house I grew up in where I can ski right from the house,” he says. “When I was younger we literally clipped our skis on our lawn and then out we go. We were close to the alpine ski hill but had access to the Nordic trails. It is a pretty special place to grow up. It was my home base for training with a good roller ski path, good gym for training. great trail running, mountain bike trails. It was basically my office for the last 10 or 15 years.”
In addition to his burgeoning law career, Harvey also spends a lot of time giving talks for everyone from corporate clients to schools. He hopes to motivate kids and adults alike to choose to live a healthy lifestyle.