Rochelle Lariviere could
have one without the other, but life for the almost
16-year-old high school student is so much better
with biathlon and science.
“I think there’s
a balance. I can indulge in them while I’m doing
them and I don’t have to be entirely focused
100 per cent. That’s not my only mindset ever,”
she said after a biathlon practice Sunday morning.
Her brother Remy, 12, also skis.
ways, too. In science, I can’t be at a desk
all day studying things. I need to be moving around,
Lariviere will compete
in biathlon this Thursday and Friday at the Ontario
Winter Games in Orillia. She also has two silver medals
at Canada-wide science fair when she was a student
at St. Paul school in Lively.
Now a Grade 10 student
at Ecole secondaire du Sacre Coeur, where she also
plays basketball and soccer, Lariviere is in her first
full year of competitive biathlon with Sudbury Nordic/Walden
Racers and Walden Biathlon. She trains on the trails
at Laurentian University and in Naughton on the Walden
Cross Country trails.
This is her first experience
at the Ontario Winter Games so her expectations aren’t
to “kill it” and win everything, she says.
first time I’m doing it, so I want to see if
I can keep my head in the game, take my time with
the shots, but still have a decent pace while I’m
skiing. It’s not the result I’m mostly
focused on, it’s my overall performance.”
There are a lot of technicalities
and rules in the sport, rules she’s still trying
to remember and figure out how to best use.
The shooting isn’t
an issue, as she hunts with her licence on the bush
property her parents, Carolyn and Roc, own near Nairn
“I have the separate
elements down. It’s just combining them and
getting the hang of alternating between them.”
In sport, her goals remain
to push herself to the best of her abilities.
“I can learn a
lot from the first year in competition. Just even
looking around seeing how my competitors do, seeing
some of the techniques they have, I can take that
back and be prepared for next year.”
As for her achievements
in science, she didn’t think she’d go
anywhere with her first Grade 7 project. It was pretty
simple: There was a school project to be evaluated
and she was going to work for the grades.
She studied the issue
of lead in bullets and lead contamination in deer
samples. With that project, she qualified for the
school board science fair.
“That sounds nice.
I like the project and I want to talk about it because
it’s pretty relevant to a lot of people in Sudbury.”
She won again and then
won the regionals at Laurentian University. At the
2017 Canada-wide Science Fair, she won silver in her
In Grade 8, she happened
to mention to her eye doctor that she was looking
for another science fair idea.
He showed her the tool
they’d used in her eye exam, a tool used to
measure conversion in the eye, she recalls.
“It redirects light
in a way that it can measure how far the eye is contorted
inward or outward.”
It sounded interesting
and from there, she studied ocular stresses in the
outer eye muscles, or how objects viewed close up
— like electronic devices — affect the
eye and the problems they can cause over a long period
of time, she says.
Another silver medal
at the 2018 national science fair was but one result
of that project.
Those past victories
and her participation in science fairs led to an invitation
to the London International Youth Science Forum, July
12-29 at London Imperial College and the Royal Geographical
Society (RGS). Over 500 youth aged 16-21, from 70
nations, are expected to attend.
The possibility of science
work at the university and RGS intrigues her. When
she was a Canada-wide science fair participant, she
loved the tours of the labs at the University of Ottawa
“The idea of going
to even bigger universities and doing the same thing
for a whole week (is) pretty appealing.”
She isn’t currently
working on any science projects; the switch to high
school has been challenging in terms of her schedule.
She has a 90-minute bus ride from Nairn Centre and
five ski practices per week.
But science is also for
summer when there is no skiing and she can run every
two entirely different things but in a sense, you
can use both of them in either (one). There’s
a lot of physics to skiing with the way that the wax
works over the snow. All of it is a science in itself.”
Laura Young’s Personal Best
column runs regularly in The Sudbury Star.