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Interview with Alex Harvey: "I preferred Cross-Country skiing because I could really push myself"
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17.09.2010

Interview with Alex Harvey: "I preferred Cross-Country skiing because I could really push myself"

Info: Weitere Sportlerinterviews und Terminplan
Autor: Patrick Chojnowski, Johann Reinhardt


The Canadian cross-country-skier Alex Harvey took the time for an interview with LiVE-Wintersport.com. He is Pierre Harvey's son who participated in the Olympic Games several times as a cyclist as well as a cross-country skier. After Harvey had won three medals at the junior world championships in 2007 and 2008, he made his first appearance in the world cup. At the rehearsal of the Olympic Games in January 2009 he collected his first ranking points.
One year later at the season's highlight he ranked top ten in the teamsprint (fourth place) and in the double pursuit (ninth place). Alex Harvey now talks about his experiences in his home country and moreover about his studies, his lodging during the Olympic Games and about his training during summertime.



Interview auf Deutsch | Interview in English


Which experiences did you have at the Olympic Games in Vancouver in your competitions?
Since it was my first ever Olympic experience, all I felt was excitement. Everything was a first for me so I was super pumped to be there. The races were some of the best of the season for me so it was great!

Which impression did you have of the Olympic Village?
The cross country team wasn't staying in the village but we still got to go there some days. It was really nice to see all the different athletes from different countries. You could see a huge Bobsleigh brakeman walking next to a tinny figure skater; quite the scene there and all the free Coke product were good too!

Where did you stay at the Olympic Games? How were the conditions there?
Our team was staying in Black Tusk, it is a small village 20 minute from the Cross-Country skiing site. We were staying in house, 4 athletes per house and everybody had his own room so we could sleep well and avoid sickness. The conditions were great, we had to cook to prepare food for us, we had two massage therapists, a physiotherapist and the usual staff with ski technicians.

How did it feel starting in front of the home crowd at the Olympics?
Starting in front of the home crowd was unreal. Starting with the warm-up, everybody was cheering for me, with my name, in my Country's language (either French or English). Then during the races, when I felt like my legs were cooked and my head was spinning, I still had something more to give because of all the cheers. It was awesome!

What experiences did you have in your free time at the Olympics in Canada?
Since I raced 5 out of the 6 races, it was pretty mellow in between races. I was trying to recover as much as I could and relax during my free time. I still got to go in the athlete village and in Whistler just to hang out with friends and family.

Which goals do you have for the next season?
This season I want to be more consistent on the World Cup but the big focus is on World Championship in Oslo.

What does your training consist of in summer and autumn before the first world cup competitions start?
Our team kicks off the training season with an on-snow camp in May, wherever there is still snow available. This year I could not attend the camp because I had a summer semester at University, so I trained at home, running, cycling, roller skiing and weight training. We had a yo-yo camp around Canmore in June-July. We were training 3 long days in a row at higher altitude, on the Haig Glacier and then 3 days at lower altitude in Canmore. Then we went to New Zealand in August for about 3 weeks. It was winter there so we got to train on exceptional conditions. Now we are in my home town, Mont-Sainte-Anne, just outside Quebec city for an intensity training camp at lower altitude. Our next camp will be in Park City, Utah for 3 weeks at altitude. We will travel to Bruskvallarna in November for a two weeks camp on snow there in preparation for the first World Cup period.

What do you study now and how long you have to study?
I am studying Law at Laval University in Quebec City. It usually is a 4 year program but it will take me quite a while to finish, maybe 10 years! I take only 4 classes per year. The University understands that I am an athlete and that I have to travel a lot for training camps and races.

How constricted you are in the training?
I am a full time athlete so I train twice a day most days. I am able to choose school class that fit well in my training schedule so I don't miss any training.

Did you test something new in training or did you change your training somehow? The Olympic season is finished and a new four year-cycle has begun.
Yes, a new cycle has now begun. I started working with a new Physiologist in Montreal and we are working a bit on some shorter type of intensity. It is some kind of a weakness for me to work the anaerobic power so we are looking to reinforce this. Also, I always had a lot of strength in my training but this year we brought new people in the program to strengthen some aspect of my body.

In the relay the Canadian team finished fifth at the Olympic Games, also in the individual races athletes from Canada reached good results. Do you think that it was a step forward for the cross-country skiing in Canada?
We were not 5th at the Olympics, we were 5th at World Championship in Liberec but 7th at the Olympics. Devon Kershaw and I were 4th in the Team Sprint at the Olympics. We also had some really good individual results, like 3 boys in the top 9 in the 30km pursuit, but no medal. I think now people in Canada start to look into Cross-Country skiing more and more (but Hockey is still the real deal!). The important thing is that we know that we can do great at big events, not only on World Cups.

What can one expect of cross-country skiing in Canada in the next years according to you?
I think we will see more of Canadians on World Cup and World Championship podiums!

What happened that you started cross-country skiing?
I live right on the ski trails, I never use my car to go ski so my playground as a kid was the ski trails in the winter and bike trails in the summer. My parents are skiers too and all the neighbors ski. As a kid I took downhill skiing lessons on Saturdays and Cross-Country lessons on Sundays. I liked both but I preferred Cross-Country skiing because I could really push myself.

Do you feel sometimes any pressure being the son of the famous cross-country skier Pierre Harvey?
As a kid I did a little bit. Everybody expected me to win, all the time, but I was a small kid and all my competitors were bigger than me, so I wasn't able to win! I always trained hard and wanted to win so when I got a little bigger, I was starting to win and all the pressure went away!

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Alex Harvey during the 50-kilometres-race in Trondheim
Alex Harvey during the 50-kilometres-race in Trondheim

Alex Harvey during the free-style-race at the Olympic Games in Canada
Alex Harvey during the free-style-race at the Olympic Games in Canada


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