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    Athlete profile: Dominick Gauthier

    Posted: Tue February 3, 1998 at 5:00 PM ET

    Athlete information
    NameDominick Gauthier
    CountryCanada
    Pronounceddoe-me-NEEK go-chee-AY
    Age24
    Birthdate08/31/73
    BirthplaceQuebec City, Quebec
    ResidenceQuebec City, Quebec
    Height/Weight6'0", 178
    EventsMoguls

    Athlete notes

    Nicknamed "Hurricane" for his speed and aggressive style down the slopes, Gauthier's rise to the top of the moguls world was set back for two years by a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee...he had finished fifth in the overall 1995 World Cup standings and only one of the four who had placed ahead, teammate and Lillehammer gold medalist Jean-Luc Brassard, was to compete the following season..."I was going to start the season number two in the world but I injured my knee at Nationals," says Gauthier of his injury at his final competition of the 1994-95 season. "No one even thought that I would ski that year because I had two operations, the second was on September 1. I've been the fastest recovery ever in moguls skiing. I went down to 11th that year but I was still making finals"...while the physical problems abated within a few months, Gauthier needed a full season and a half in order to regroup mentally..."That injury brought me back to earth. I ski so much more intelligent and I listen to my body (better)"...Gauthier won last year's Canadian championships, outdueling teammates Brassard and Stephane Rochon, who finished 1-2 at the Worlds in Nagano, and vindicating himself at the same Events he tore up his knee..."I don't know if it was the most important race ever for me, but it was the most important race for my training this summer," says Gauthier. "I was not thinking, ‘I want to beat Jean-Luc or I want to beat Stephane.' I was thinking that it was me against the hill. I wanted to cross the finish line and say, ‘Dom, I couldn't do any better'"...Gauthier's trip to Nagano will fulfill a lifelong quest...he has dreamed of competing in the Olympics ever since he watched Canadian downhiller Ken Read compete at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid...in fact, Dominick wanted to do downhill himself but Quebec had no downhill program...since he thought slalom and giant slalom were "too boring," he opted for freestyle...he did not qualify for the '94 Olympics because Canada only had two spots for moguls, snapped up by Brassard and the since-retired John Smart...it will have four mogulists at the Nagano Olympics...Gauthier did redeem himself one year after the Lillehammer Olympics, when he won his first World Cup Events on the same course that hosted Brassard's gold medal win..."I didn't want to retire without finishing first once," jokes Gauthier...Gauthier credits Brassard for having add a touch of finesse to his aggressive skiing..."I've learned a lot just by watching Jean-Luc," says Gauthier. "In the early ‘90s it was all about speed and then Jean-Luc came up and showed his finesse. I used to be aggressive and I wasn't really fluid but I've changed it. Now I have a little bit of Jean-Luc in me"...Gauthier admits that he has never been a particularly strong jumper but he believes he has improved in that area, and hopes to perfect a quad in time for the Olympics..."Now I have two triples -- an iron-cross-double twister and an iron cross-twister-spread," he explains. "But in Nagano, the bottom jump is pretty big and I'm planning to do a quad with an iron cross-double twister-spread. We'll have to see how the judges score the quad in the first few World Cups"...Gauthier comes from a sports-minded family...his parents, who own a cottage in Mt. St. Anne, Quebec, are both avid cross-country skiers and introduced Dominick to skiing when he was two years old...his father is a gynecologist while his mother "took care of us"...Gauthier's sister, Brigitte, was an excellent figure skater who finished eighth at the 1989 Canadian Championships, and is now the Canadian moguls' team physiotherapist...even as a tiny tot, "Hurricane" knew that he would need more of a thrill then he could get from cross-country...as a three year-old, he apparently convinced his parents to let him ski alpine...Dominick switched to ice hockey when he was seven, and played it for four years..."In Quebec, you know, every little kid plays hockey and I had to do it too," recounts Gauthier. "I knew that I could be good at hockey, and some of my friends are now playing in the NHL (Philippe Boucher and Patrick Poulin), but I thought I was a little too small to play in the NHL. I played almost every sport and I kept thinking which one I could go pro in. I think I made a good decision with freestyle"...he was a 12-handicap golfer as a 15 year-old and competed in the Canadian junior national golf championships but says, "I knew I could never make the PGA"...Gauthier first competed in moguls when he was 12 years old, though it was an 18-and-over Events -- "I kept bugging the people to let me race and finally at the end, they let me race the guy who finished third. And I beat him," recalls Gauthier of the open dual moguls competition...he regularly competed against Brassard and Rochon at regional competitions in Quebec...he competed in his first World Cup Events at Breckenridge when he was 17 and earned his first podium at Blackcomb in 1992, his first full season on the World Cup circuit...his idol was French moguls legend and Albertville gold medalist Edgar Grospiron, and Dominick vividly recalls a head-to-head competition in 1994..."My dream was always to compete in duals against Grospiron -- I had pictures of him up on my wall -- and I did it in an indoor race in Paris," describes Gauther. "They brought snow in from the Alps and everything. There was a huge crowd and everyone was cheering for him, and it was enough for me just to compete -- I didn't expect to win. Even at the start, he kind of shook my hand as if, ‘You know, there's know way you're going to beat me.' Then I ended up beating him. That was unbelievable"...Gauthier is currently studying finance through correspondence courses at the University of Montreal..."My other passion," he says, "is the stock market. I know that's what I want to do after skiing"...in his free time not occupied by studies, he does cart racing -- "It's getting huge in Quebec now because of Jacques Villeneuve," he says, referring to the 1997 Formula One overall champion -- and play golf...he also fell in love with surfing last year and spent a week in Hawaii doing it...Dominick's first language is French but he speaks English well...



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