Saturday, December 19, 2009

Portrait: "Sylvie Fréchette"

34" x 40", oil on linen.

86cm x 102 cm, huile sur lin.

Sylvie Fréchette.

Fréchette began synchronized swimming at the age of eight. Blessed with strength, flexibility, and long legs, the young swimmer immediately impressed coach Julie Sauvé.

A member of the national A team from 1983-1996, Fréchette was four times the national solo champion. She claimed 25 gold medals in international competition and held two world solo titles.

What should have been a celebration of her career became another personal challenge for her. Her fiancé tragically passed away just days before she was to leave for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Despite the pain of this loss, she attended the Games and swam the routines of her life. One judge, however, accidentally punched in a mark of 8.7 instead of 9.7. While the mistake was immediately admitted, officials refused to change Fréchette's official score and the champion swimmer was relegated to second place. While she expressed pride in swimming her best, and satisfaction in the silver medal, a messy controversy ensued. Sixteen months later, the gold medal was finally granted to Sylvie.

After this ordeal, Fréchette retired from competition for two years. Her competitive spirit returned, however, as she made a bid for the national team once more in 1994, this time with hopes of having a more enjoyable Olympic experience. The Canadian synchro team claimed silver at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and the satisfied Fréchette retired from competition for good. In 1999, Sylvie Fréchette was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.


Elizabeth McCrindle said...


Anonymous said...

the painting is wonderful Marina. and the story fascinating. r.

yann said...

bravo pour cette belle technique, et bonne suite dans votre évolution !

Unknown said...

Meraviglioso!!! Perfetto!!

Mona Diane Conner said...

A beautiful portrait, and a wonderful decision to show her arms moving the water in magical lighting. Thanks too for sharing the story about Sylvie's life.

Marina Dieul said...

Thank you all!

Carolina said...

Hoy te escribo en español porque estoy muy cansada pero no puedo dejar de comentar al ver la preciosa pintura que has hecho.
¡Tienes un don que es un regalo del cielo!
Aprovecho para dejarte mis mejores deseos en esta Navidad y Año Nuevo. Espero que la pases muy bien junto con los tuyos :)
Muchos saludos,

Kai Büker said...

a wonderful painting! bravo!
the details are great, the color choice is fascinating.

flores said...

Genial!!!, saluods

Tristan Alexander said...

Your work is quite wonderful, I love it!!

Jennifer said...

Marina, the painting is awesome, i suggest that u should go for blog advertising and marketing. there is a website called which will promote your blog through allover the network at very cheap prices..

Marina Dieul said...

Thank you and Gracias !
Happy New year everyone!
Bonne année à tous!

Anonymous said...

vry nyc