Para Alpine Skiing Icon Marie Bochet Retires

It was on the "Canin" slope of Sella Nevea (ITA) that Marie Bochet (FRA) opened her last World Cup starting gate on March 24. Thus, she closed a chapter of more than 15 years at the highest level. And what a record! 107 World Cup victories, 9 overall titles, 22 discipline titles, 22 World Championship titles, and 9 Paralympic medals, including 8 gold... the native of Chambéry (FRA) has left a mark on the world circuit of Para Alpine Skiing more than anyone before her.

With skis on her feet from a very young age, Marie quickly moved through the national circuit, then the European circuit, to reach the world circuit and participate in her first Paralympic Games at just 16 years old, in Vancouver (CAN), in 2010. She narrowly missed the podium twice there and used this first experience as a driving force to subsequently reach the top and stay there. Her versatility (she always competed in all 5 Para Alpine Skiing disciplines!) allowed her to become a regular on the podiums, winning medals, and titles. Marie remained competitive to the end, up to her last Para Alpine Skiing World Cup finals in Sella Nevea (ITA) where she stood on the podium 4 more times and won her last two titles, in super-G and downhill.

In a social media post she said "Thank you all for supporting me during this beautiful adventure. It’s a long and small one. I’m very happy with my decision, but it’s always difficult to leave this circuit because I leave so many very amazing moments. […] We live a beautiful life in this sport, but I think we must inspire people with disability to do the same […]"

An inspiring and committed role model, Marie has always been dedicated to promoting inclusion through and within sport. "If this individual career can reassure young parents of children born with agenesis or young adults who are amputees, that yes, despite a small missing part one can live beautiful adventures and encourage them to join the @franceparalympique movement, then it won’t have been so selfish and I will have won much more than medals," she wrote in her farewell message to high-level sport on Instagram.

A Beaufortin native, Marie took to skiing when she was at nursery school. She started her first competitions with non-disabled people. In 2006, when she started secondary school, Marie joined the Albertville Handisport club, and then the French skiing Federation. This is the first time a disabled athlete was accepted. Marie talks confidently about her childhood disability, a malformation of her left forearm. She never looked on it as a weakness.

When she was just 18, Marie found herself competing at the Vancouver Paralympic Games. Four years later, she picked up 4 gold medals at Sotchi. When she was 20, she took gold in the 4 events: downhill, super-combined, Super-G and giant Slalom. This is an unprecedented achievement for the French team. She is the first French athlete to amass such an impressive amount of medals at the Paralympic Games.

A specialist in technical disciplines, in particular in the slalom at the start of her career, she is today a complete skier who knows no bounds.

In 2016, she won the Grand slam by amassing wins in all her races. She won the Cristal globe as well as 4 “small” Cristal globes in the downhill, slalom, giant slalom and super-G events. She even pushes for perfection going as far as to amass 17 victories out of 17 world cup races during the 2015-2016 season.

A healthy mind in a healthy body

Marie is obviously a sports woman. But she was also determined to do well in her studies. She didn’t hesitate to change her time table to combine physical training and competitions with her school calendar. In fact, she obtained her bac ES (economics and social sciences high school diploma) in 2013 with distinction. Today, she studies at Sciences Po Paris for a diploma adapted for top-level athletes.

Fun facts about Marie

  • In 2014, she was named Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur alongside Martin Fourcade.
  • In the same year, she won an award at the Laureus Sports Awards, the most prestigious ceremony in the sporting calendar.
  • In 2016, she joined the French military skiing team.
  • Marie has shared the secret to her success: large portions of the Beaufort cheese produced by her parents.

Her successes

  • Four-time champion at the Sotchi Paralympic Games 2014
  • 15 world champion paralympic titles in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017
  • 67 victories at the World Cup
  • 5 big Crystal globes
  • 13 small Crystal globes

Marie can be reassured; her career has been far from selfish – as evidenced by the large community she gathered around her and her sport throughout her career and once more on the occasion of her "athlete life farewell" celebration at her home in Beaufortain (FRA). The celebration was grand, and Marie Bochet will remain a leading figure in Paralympic alpine skiing! Bravo and thank you, Marie!

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