"I used to take everything for granted. Now I don't; I appreciate every moment five times more."
“Just three years ago, I was lying in a hospital bed with no energy, no muscles, no cardio. It was the most difficult moment of my life. To be here three years later at the Olympics again, living my passion, doing the best race I’ve ever done and winning gold, is crazy.”
Those words of Maxence Parrot, an Olympian from Quebec, Canada, resonate strongly today. After overcoming cancer of the lymphatic system, the Olympic vice-champion won the gold medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics in snowboard slopestyle on Monday, February 7.
“Giving up was never an option. Coming back to compete in these Games has actually been a huge source of motivation to beat cancer,” he said after his last winning run.
Parrot also went on to win a bronze medal in the big air snowboarding event.
His life took a dramatic turn shortly before Christmas 2018, when doctors diagnosed the Canadian with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rare cancer of the lymphatic system that affects white blood cells. Then began for Maxence Parrot a real race against the clock lasting six long months, during which he underwent intense treatment and 12 chemotherapies. It’s a battle that he finally won, his body exhausted by the medical treatment that saved his life.
“The challenge of fighting cancer made me realize how grateful I am to be alive, to live for my passion, my sport and traveling around the world. I used to take everything for granted. Now I don’t; I appreciate every moment five times more,” he told L’Équipe.
Nine months after the announcement of his cancer, on August 31, 2019, “Max” Parrot was back on the snow, with the key to victory at the X Games in Oslo. In 2021, he confirmed his return to the forefront with a silver medal at the Big Air World Championships held in Aspen (Colorado, USA).
“In the last two Olympics, I was stressed all the time. I put a lot of pressure on myself and I didn’t enjoy the Games, even 10 months before. This is not the case anymore. I’m still a little stressed, and I think it’s normal, but I enjoy it more and it makes a huge difference,” he says.
These words are a real invitation to us all to challenge ourselves to do better every day. “What happened with my story is proof that anything is possible, that you never ever gotta give up,” he commented in a video published by National Post: