From left: Nic Lemyre â94 poses with Norwegian biathlete Tiril Eckhoff at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, where Eckhoff took home one gold and two bronze medals for Norway.

Keeping His Promise

After a long career in international sports, Nic Lemyre ’94 joins Cross Country Canada as high performance director

Aaron Todd ’00, M’06

While Montreal native Nic Lemyre ’94 spent his first two years of college at Université Laval in Quebec City, Quebec, he was always intrigued by the stories that his friend and Nordic skiing mentor Hugo Trudel ’90 told about his time as a student-athlete at St. Lawrence.

Lemyre started talking with Paul Daly, who coached the Nordic team at that time, and as soon as he arrived in Canton for a campus visit, he knew he wanted to transfer.

“I remember meeting with an Admissions counselor, and I promised to become something really great if I was allowed to come to St. Lawrence,” says Lemyre. “I don’t know if I achieved any of the things I said I would in that interview, but I know I really wanted to impress him because I wanted to go to St. Lawrence so badly.”

Lemyre is being a bit modest. He has gone on to do some pretty impressive things, most recently being named a high performance director for Cross Country Canada over the summer and being responsible for the planning and structuring of Canada’s elite Nordic ski team. He will help select the coaching staff and will support the Canadian athletes vying for Olympic medals at the 2022 Beijing Games and younger skiers competing on Canada’s elite U-23 team. 

“Canada’s Nordic program has had a lot of international success in the last 20 years,” says Lemyre. “We’re sort of at a crossroads now; some of the most successful athletes retired after the Olympics, and we have to help the new, up-and-coming athletes take that next step up to that level of competition.”

Prior to joining Cross Country Canada, Lemyre served as a sports psychologist for the Norwegian Olympic Committee. He worked as a member of the support team for the Norwegian men’s hockey team and women’s biathlon team at the 2010 Vancouver Games, where Tora Berger won Olympic gold for Norway in the 15-kilometer race.

Lemyre ended up in Norway almost on a whim. After graduating from St. Lawrence, he spent a year training and racing and was planning on attending graduate school in Alberta when he got a phone call from a small school in the northernmost corner of Norway, where he had also applied.

“The only program open to non-Norwegian speakers was in fishery marketing, and I was a psychology major,” says Lemyre. “They offered me a place to study, but school was starting in a few days, so I only had 24 hours to make a decision.” In the end, he says, “I decided to sell my car and buy a plane ticket.”

That plane ticket had a return flight six months later, but Lemyre didn’t use it. He continued to ski and built connections in the Norwegian skiing community. He went on to get a master’s degree and a doctorate in sport psychology from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, where he has also been teaching for the last 13 years.

Although he will be working to enhance the Cross Country Canada hopefuls’ chances at gold, Lemyre, his wife, and their three children plan to remain in Norway, where he will continue in his role as a professor of sport psychology.