French-Canadian Myriam Bédard began her training in marksmanship at the age of 15 upon joining the Royal Canadian Army Cadets and, by the age of 18, was the Canadian Junior Champion in biathlon. After winning a biathlon World Championship event in 1991, she joined the Canadian Women’s Biathlon Team for the 1992 Winter Olympics, the first time the competition was made an official event for females, and won a bronze medal in the 15km individual competition. At the 1994 Games she improved her performance, winning a gold medal in the same event, as well as gold in the 7.5km sprint. For her efforts she received the Lou Marsh Trophy –awarded annually to Canada’s top athlete – and the Velma Springstead Trophy, which honors Canadian women’s achievement in sport. After a child and several injuries that affected her performance at the 1998 Winter Games, she retired from biathlon. A brief attempt at building a career in speed skating was followed by an appointment as the only woman on the International Biathlon Union’s executive board, beginning in 2004. She received the Olympic Order in Silver in 2001.
Bédard’s encountered personal problems in February 2004 when she claimed that she had been forced to leave her job in 2002 after raising issues with the company’s financial dealings. In December 2006, she was arrested for child abduction of her own daughter in Washington, D.C. and was extradited in January 2007. Facing up to 10 years in prison, she was found guilty in September and given an absolute discharge (leaving her with no criminal record) and two years probation the following month. In March 2010 the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld her conviction and sentence, although her lawyer vowed to bring the case before the Supreme Court. It also rejected the Crown prosecutor’s attempt to seek a tougher punishment.