Pierre Mainville competes in the men's individual epee at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

For Canadian Pierre Mainville, fencing means the world but family means more

Veteran reaches the quarterfinals in his last wheelchair fencing outing at the Paralympics

Canadian fencing star Pierre Mainville left his mark in his final Paralympic performance and now he can focus on his duties as a dad.

Mainville lost his first three bouts in men’s individual sabre – category B, but found his form in the nick of time, defeating Baldwinder Cheema of Germany 5-0 to advance.

He was eliminated in the quarterfinal bout (15-6) against the world number four, Panagiotis Triantafyllou of Greece, who went on to claim the silver medal.

“At the beginning it was bad because I was very nervous,” said Mainville after his final bout. “I couldn’t do my fencing style, so it was very bad.”

The 43-year-old father of two – Cloe, 8, and Ludovic, 5 – said he couldn’t shake his nerves so he resorted to a different tactic.

“I tried to think of my family and about being happy to be here,” said Mainville, wiping the sweat from his brow. “After that, the action got going and I was good enough to pass through to the quarterfinal.”

A veteran of the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics, Mainville said now that his Paralympic career is over, he can focus on his family which is the most important thing in his life.

“My family are part of my team,” said Mainville after the quarterfinals, with Ludovic sitting on his lap. “I had to spend a lot of time in the gym and with my trainer so I didn’t always have time with them.

“Now I will be with them almost full time.”

Mainville, of Saint-Jerome, Que., said it is up to his son if he wants to follow in dad’s footsteps.

Mainville knows there is more to life than sport.

“If he likes it of course he can play, but that is his problem now,” Mainville said. “In our family we ask the children to do at least one sport and one art.”

And maybe answer one question – in English.

“Yo, man,” said the French-speaking Ludovic, when Mainville asked him to say something to the media in English.

Mainville was injured in 2001, when a rogue RCMP officer open fired on the car he was travelling in, resulting in six bullet wounds and the loss of movement in his legs. He offered some key advice for anyone trying to deal with paraplegia.

“The past is the past, you have to go forward,” Mainville said. “I try to live 96 per cent in the present time, with my coach and my family, two per cent not forgetting the error I did in the past and two per cent to grow with that and prepare the future.”


Twitter: @JamieJohnstone8