Ilana Dupont placed fourth in her heat of the T-53 100m sprint on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Paralympic partners keep each other on track

Alex and Ilana Dupont compete in combined seven events at Rio Games

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Veteran Paralympian Alex Dupont has raced against the best in the world. But he never gets more nervous than when he is watching his wife.

Alex Dupont, competing in London 2012, will be on the track for the first time on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Canadian Paralympic Committee.
Alex Dupont, competing in London 2012, will be on the track for the first time on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Canadian Paralympic Committee.

The 31-year-old was in the stands at Rio’s Olympic Stadium on Thursday watching anxiously as Ilana Dupont finished fourth in her heat, just sneaking into the T-53 100m final.

“It makes me more nervous than watching my own races,” Alex said pre-competition. “I think she’s going to do great, I know she’s going to do great but I can’t wait for it to be over.”

The uneasiness of watching a spouse compete goes both ways for the Duponts who live in Saint-Georges-De-Clarenceville, Que. In a post-heat interview with the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Ilana said she experiences the same nerves when he is racing, yet for Alex, it provides comfort knowing she is there.

“It is a little bit easier because sometimes I go a little bit crazy in my head and she’s there usually like, ‘hey man, take it easy’,” said Alex, who will compete in the T-54 400m, 800m, 1500m and 4x400m relay.

Ilana took a break from competition after the 2008 Beijing Games, but with her competitive nature she could not keep away.

Watching her husband compete during the 2012 London Games gave her the nudge she needed to get back into racing. She took another break to give birth in 2014 but Alex says her passion for the sport brought her back to the track.

“This is why we do it—for the Games,” Alex said.“Even World Cup does not come close to this. She just wanted to live this again.”

Ilana races the 100m final Thursday 5:54 ET. Alex takes the track for the first time on Sept. 11.

 

Twitter: @HannahDCarver