SportsLeader Athlete Rebecca Dussault Wins Multiple Titles


I am extremely honored to possibly introduce you to Rebecca Dussault, one of the very first SportsLeader Women athletes. She is a wife, mother and ski racer. A tremendous woman of faith and virtue. She was kind enough to share this testimony with us. Her husband Sharbel also very professionally chronicled her latest achievements.

Rebecca is an amazing example of putting life in perspective. There is much to learn here from her. As many of you know - our girls program is getting underway.

Influence for Life, a Chronicle of Being Coached

There’s a precious reality which lies within each of us and it is our ability to be formed, to develop into something over time. Coaching is a large part of that character formation. The year’s in which this happens is largely the early part of our life when we are informational sponges. The information we receive is then translated into emotion and rationale. Things which are said, seen or heard stay with us for a lifetime and are a huge influence as to who we will become.

Coaches therefore have a huge responsibility when it comes to training their athletes. They have the power to impart confidence or discouragement in each encounter. Even if a coach doesn’t really believe you’ll be the best one day they still need to guide you along a path of improvement such that you may reach your goals of a perfect race or game. They have to realize that athletes have their own set of performance markers which guide their actions.

I think to achieve the level of perfection that an athlete would like attain the coach needs to act as a facilitator coaching the “whole person.” By that I mean attending to the many faceted human body, mind and soul which make us who we are.

In my early years of ski racing I specifically had a coach who desired to understand things about me which motivated and encouraged me as well as things which dampened my spirit and added stress to my life. Therefore she (gender is not necessarily of importance) was able to take me to exciting new levels in my sport. She had respect for my unique qualities like my catholicity, family commitments, my health, schooling, and life goals. Let’s just face it; we don’t all come from the same mold. I was as unique as the next athlete and deserved to be known. She was very approachable and good at communicating. She also had knowledge of the journey because she herself had been a three time Olympian in ski racing. I felt confident in having her help with my athletic formation.

Later on I was named to the US Ski Team and was being coached by the newly appointed women’s coach. I felt that due to his history of men coaching men, and given his relative inexperience with coaching the women, that we were immediately on different pages. There were aspects which were helpful but the whole coach/athlete relationship remained on the field so to speak. He never cared to get to know who I was and what made me tick. Being merely concerned about my physical accomplishments regardless of my mental, emotional and spiritual state was a plan which didn’t get us far. Therefore, in this case it ended up causing tension. When I eventually over-trained on his training plan I realized later that never was the communication and mutual understanding what it should have been. In the end, as his concern was only single planed, it led to my failure on the season. He never saw any of the red flags I raised and just spurred me on. I was tired and sick and wished other elements in our coach/athlete relationship and been present which had previously contributed to my success. Overall, it was a good learning experience I’ll be keeping with me. I now glean the best attributes from each coaching personality involved in my life making a collage of wisdom.

February 2010-
2 World Championship Titles!
7 SuperTour Wins!
1 Birkebeiner Victory!

By Sharbel Dussault
February 28th, 2010

All I can say is wow! What determination, will power, perseverance and strength! When my wife decides that she is going to win she rarely comes up short. She has an amazing ability to overcome and once she sets her mind and heart on a goal there is no looking back.

For Rebecca Dussault of Gunnison, CO the season started with dreams of her second Olympics. She had spent the summer months training, racing and building up her base for the grueling events of winter racing and hopefully a return to the Games. As we all know, the Olympics did not happen this go around for reasons we may never know. But that hasn’t stopped Rebecca from racing her back-up plan. The month of February has been nothing short of Olympic caliber with better than Olympic results for Rebecca. From the victory in Norway at the Winter Triathlon World Championships to her repeat victory at the American Birkiebiener in Telemark, WI this has truly been an Olympics Rebecca will never forget. Put in the mix two other victories from races held on the streets of Madison around the capital building and you get an amazing win streak of 8 races from the beginning of February.

Yesterday in Hayward, WI Rebecca captured, for the 2nd time in as many years, the most prestigious marathon ski race victory on North American soil, the American Birkebeiner! This was the 37th year the race has been held. It is known as a challenging and beautiful course and for it’s history leading back 800 years ago in Norway. This year there were roughly 10000 people who participated in the Birkie ski events.

The week leading into the race Rebecca had been battling an upper respiratory infection that laid her out for the whole week. She arrived in Hayward after winning two races in downtown Madison, WI and knew it was going to be an uphill battle to get healthy enough to race let alone to win!

I being the husband of Rebecca, get to experience the situation as an insider. The ups and downs, preparation, doubts and determination that make Rebecca the elite athlete that she is. Her all out assault and focus is unbelievable. Even though she doubted whether she was going to be ready to race I knew deep down that if she got out and started the race she was not going to lose. That’s just the kind of athlete she is. She wanted to win so bad. She is carrying the family right now and did not want to disappoint.

The race unfolded on one of the best Birkie days that people can remember in a long time. Cool but not freezing temperatures greeted the racers early in the morning with blue sky up above. A perfect cross country freeway had been prepared by no less than six snowcats that had groomed the 12” solid base of snow into perfect corduroy 30 feet wide for the length of the course.

With Rebecca’s race starting at 8:27 in the morning, we were all up early. Rebecca met her team at 6:30 to catch the bus to the start while the boys and I made our way out towards the beginning of the race course. We set-up our cameras and positioned ourselves, waiting for the race to unfold. First the elite men came by which pressed in the first tracks on the amazing course as it winds itself up and down through the woods for 50k or 31 miles.

Next came the elite women with Rebecca towards the front. In a race of this length you will rarely see an single racer lead from start to finish. There is a lot of strategy and teamwork that goes into play as the race progresses. Similar to road bike racing, it takes a little less energy if you are behind someone who is breaking the air in front of you. Rebecca’s experience and smart racing strategy is another reason for her success. She has learned how to control the race, to lift the tempo which can put other racers into difficulty, to reserve her energy for a sprint finish and knowing the right time to make a break and go for the win!

The kids and I leap-frogged the race as it made its way from Telemark to Hayward. There are various little back roads that people can access the race course so we would get to one spot on the course and wait for the race to come flying by and then we would jump in the car and drive to the next viewing spot. We were able to catch Rebecca at 3 different places along the course and still make it to the finish to see her come across the line victorious! Wow! It was not a sprint finish like last year as Rebecca was able to gap the group of 4 that had been racing with her for almost 42k. When she decided to go no one could match the pace. In the end Rebecca set a new course record in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 18 seconds.

Immediately upon crossing the finish line Rebecca was swarmed by reporters with cameras and micro phones. Each throwing questions at Rebecca who was still in tears and utterly exhausted. All I could hear her say was “Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus”! After they gave her a little room and got her out of the finishing shoot they did get a few more words out of her. Mainly she was so thankful to be able to pull off another Birkie victory under such trying circumstances.

Now as the Olympics come to a close so does Rebecca’s race schedule for February. She will be resting and training in Gunnison for a couple weeks before heading to northern Maine for the 30k National Championship race and the last 3 SuperTour races.

Thanks for all the support, kind words and emails. They mean a lot to Rebecca and us as a family.

Until next time, get out there and enjoy life and make the best of every opportunity!

God Bless,
Sharbel and family

The Dussaultskis

“To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but merely existing; we must never just "exist".

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati