By David Grossman
Marc-Andre Alexandre knows something about pressure – both on and off the sports field.
A dominant athlete, his academic status is also top-notch. He’s currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in the history of science and medicine, and pre-med at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
Talk with Alexandre and his enthusiasm and vibrancy to excel at everything in his path is evident.
“I like the challenges and want to do well,” said Alexandre. “I see it as an experience and opportunities to [excel].”
An inspiring and innovative individual, given the choice between playing football or track, he chose to test his skills and speed at one of the oldest sporting competitions – sprinting.
When Alexandre made the trip west from his home in Montreal, it was to benefit from UCC’s sound reputation in education. Outside of the classroom, he wanted to try his fortune on the gridiron.
But an interesting thing happened: he put aside the pigskin and focused on running.
While he did exhibit speed, and lots of it, Alexandre didn’t have any experience in the sprints. Coaches noticed.
Alexandre, always looking for ways to learn, then took some advice and, as the story goes, his simple expectations had others watching him exploit his talent. In a short span of time, Alexandre excelled in the sprints at the independent high school finals as well as the Ontario championships.
There were regular trips to the winner’s podium, amazing performances, medals piled up, personal bests and people were talking about his success across the country. Specialization and elite standards became important and Alexandre chose to devote his energy and determination to the 400-metre event.
Chosen to Canada’s national junior team in 2012, where he competed in Spain at the world championships, now Alexandre is opening eyes at Yale and throughout the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Ivy League.
“People were great to me at UCC – and the brotherhood developed while at boarding school was something that will last with me forever,” he said. “I came to UCC for a reason and when I left, I left with so much more.”
While Alexandre would like to be on Canada’s squad at the 2020 Olympics, it’s not all about sports. He also cares about human rights, heath, young people and humanitarian relief.
“I plan to take a year off after Yale and do some community service in Haiti – try to make the world a better place,” said Alexandre, whose career path is now aimed at international relations and wanting to work in diplomatic relations for Canada. “I’ve been (to Haiti), saw the disparity and people struggling. I want to do something to help.”