We’re all behind you, Jean-Yves!

Jean-Yves Le Meur, developer of the CERN Document Server (CDS) which manages the Organization’s electronic archives, is about to take part in his third Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Don’t miss him on TV from 15th March onwards !


Jean-Yves, second from the right, participates in a five-day IT training programme in Rwanda.

Jean-Yves Le Meur won his place in the 14-strong “Team France” (11 men and 3 women) that will compete at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver via the qualifying events held in Austria and Italy in 2009. “It was really tough to get selected this time round. You either had to make a top-three finish in a World Cup event or win gold at the European Cup”, says Jean-Yves.

    Jean-Yves will be competing in four alpine skiing events: the "Super G" (Super Giant Slalom), the Super Combined Slalom, the Giant Slalom and the Slalom. And given his good performances in recent events a medal is not out of the question for CERN’s paralympian. “However,” Jean-Yves explains, "winning isn’t just about being fast. All the athletes are classified according to their disability group and a formula is used to "factor" their times according to their class” (see box).

The 'Scarver' used in the Paralympic Winter Games (Copyright : Tessier)

Jean Yves has always been a great sportsman, right from a young age, but after his accident he thought he would have to cut down on his sport or even give it up altogether. Quite the opposite happened. During re-education in a specialised unit, he was taught to walk again through sport. “I realised that sport was actually helping me to walk and that walking with prosthetic legs was indeed a sport in itself. That’s when I became aware that my disability would never be an obstacle to doing sport.”

But skiing was not among the many sports he used to practise before his accident, so he had to learn it all from scratch. “What's brilliant about skiing is the feeling of freedom you get. When you’re doing your sport, that physical disability you carry around, day-in day-out, just disappears.”
Jean-Yves has been training hard for the past six months, preparing himself both physically and mentally for the Vancouver Games. Technology also plays a key role in achieving good results. "High-tech equipment is essential for top-level skiers," he explains. “Team France is among the frontrunners, thanks, among other things, to our equipment manufacturer. After analysing the kinematics and shock-absorbing systems of older equipment, I helped elaborate the prototype ‘Scarver’ (see photo)". The Austrians and the Japanese have very good equipment too, so it would appear that the race for medals has spawned a race for technology.

Jean-Yves will be competing in events on 15, 16, 19 and 21 March, so let’s all get behind our athlete ! The Paralympic Winter Games will be screened on TV8 Mont Blanc, and streamed on-line at: www.paralympicsport.tv.


The Paralympic Winter Games

The Winter Paralympics are the equivalent of the Winter Olympics for athletes from all countries with physical disabilities or sight impairments (amputees, the blind, those suffering from motor or cerebral disorders or who are in wheelchairs, or suffering from any other physical disability).
The Winter Paralympics take place every four years, straight after the Winter Olympics.
The athletes are classified according to their disability group into three categories : “sitting”, “standing” and “visually impaired”. A formula is used to "factor" athletes’ times according to their class.
The participation of "Team France", to which Jean-Yves belongs, is organised by the Fédération française handisport under the aegis of the International Paralympic Committee.

For more information on the Paralympics, click here.

by Laëtitia Pedroso