Amélie Grenier, Judoka-of-all-Trades

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Montréal, March 15, 2024 – In 2020, Amélie Grenier left her native Saguenay and moved to the big city of Montréal to pursue her passion for judo. Four years on, the judoka, who has since returned to her hometown and is more involved in her sport than ever, has no regrets.

Photo: Marc-André Primeau
Amélie Grenier with her athletes.

Unfortunately for Amélie, the pandemic largely affected her stay in Montréal. The disruptions in training schedules hampered her integration into her new region.

“Essentially, I wanted to move to Montréal to pursue my dream of competing in the Olympics. At the National Training Centre, I was able to develop new strategies and refine some of my techniques, but because of the pandemic, I don’t feel I was able to take full advantage of the experience. I’ve always lived in Saguenay, and moving to Montréal was a big change. I sometimes felt uncomfortable in the big city, and I was far away from my family,” she explained.

Contrary to what many people around Amélie believed, her judo career didn’t come to an end when she left Montréal in 2022. Far from it!

“I’ve kept practicing it anyhow, and I think I’m capable of performing well, even though I no longer train with the national elite. I’ve continued to train here in Saguenay, and I take part in national competitions whenever I can.”

Over the years, Amélie’s dream of competing in the Olympics has shifted a little, and she now wishes to be as successful as possible at the national level.

“I’ve come to realize that the Olympics are probably no longer a possibility for me, so I want to focus on doing well at the national level. It will probably be better for my career, anyway, and I feel less pressure during competitions, because no one really has any expectations of me. So that’s one less stress factor,” she admitted.

The 21-year-old athlete has continued to be successful in Canada, winning silver medals at the Pan-American Open in Montréal in November 2023 and the Elite National Championships in Edmonton in January 2024. Such results help keep Grenier’s passion for judo alive.

“In November, that was probably one of the best results of my career. I had the opportunity to compete against high-level athletes from outside of Canada for the first time in a long time, and I was happy to make it all the way to the final,” she said.

“Good results help, of course, but I think it’s simpler than that. I love judo and I love competing. It gives me an indescribable adrenaline rush. It can also maybe serve as proof to younger athletes that there’s no perfect formula for doing well, and that there are many paths you can take to reach your goals.”

More than an athlete

The young athletes Grenier is referring to are mainly those she trains at the Ju Shin Kan Club in Laterrière. She also headed up the Saguenay delegation to the Quebec Games, which were held in Sherbrooke in recent weeks.

“It’s new for me, and I just love it. The younger kids see me as kind of a big sister, and I’m happy to be able to share my knowledge with them. A lot of them are in the classes, and I teach some of them. It’s really fun,” she said.

As if that wasn’t enough, Amélie is also a referee, something that is rarely seen among athletes who are still active. Being a referee has helped her grow enormously over the past few years, both as an athlete and as a person.

“I’ve been refereeing since 2018! I started doing it to get a different view of judo. I wanted to understand how the referees saw things. You often hear athletes and coaches complain about the referees’ decisions, so I wanted to step back and get an objective view of their side of things. It allows me to watch a lot of bouts, where I see different techniques and strategies being used. I’ve almost never complained about a referee’s decision, and I think that’s largely due to the fact that I’m a referee myself,” said Grenier, who is preparing for her National B level referee exam, which will bring her one step closer to obtaining the National A level that will allow her to referee at competitions such as the Canadian Championships.

To bring things full circle, judo also runs in the Grenier family. Amélie’s younger brother took up judo in 2010, a year before she did. When Amélie made her debut on the tatamis, her mother Sylvie Pearson followed suit and is now a member of the coaching team at Laterrière’s Ju Shin Kan Club.

“My mom signed up for judo at the same time as I did, and over time, she became my coach at competitions. She does a good job of keeping her roles as mother and coach separate. She doesn’t let her stress show at all, but I’m sure she’s probably twice as stressed as I am!” added Grenier, laughing.

“I have a lot on my plate, but I enjoy it to the fullest. I don’t have to make any choices right now, which is great. I do all of this because I love it,” she concluded.


Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

For more information:

Patrick Esparbès
Chief Operating Officer
Judo Canada
(514) 668-6279

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