Olympic champ Gagnon happy to finally put charge behind him

Marc Gagnon entered a guilty plea and paid a fine for a DUI charge Thursday. (Reuters)

Marc Gagnon entered a guilty plea and paid a fine for a DUI charge Thursday. (Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:03 PM ET

Once upon a time, Marc Gagnon had it all.

Gagnon, the most decorated male Olympian our country has produced, was everywhere.

The former short track speed skater was the spokesman for Quebec's largest chain of sports bars and a series of fitness centres. He did speed skating commentary on Radio Canada, CBC's French language partner.

It all came to a crashing halt when Gagnon was stopped with a blood-alcohol level almost twice the legal limit after losing control of his vehicle in front of a police officer on September 22, 2007.

In a Joliette, Que., courtroom Thursday, Gagnon entered a guilty plea for driving while impaired and paid an $800 fine. His license was revoked for a year.

The 38-year-old feels like the court proceedings took abnormally long. After five years, a Quebec court suspended the case, but in 2013 the court of appeals reopened it.

"I'm really happy to put this behind me," Gagnon told QMI in a wide-ranging conversation. "Every four or five months this would come up in the press. I kept losing sponsorship deals because of it."

The public went from adoring the Olympic champion to "screaming that I was an alcoholic" or "calling the cops when I left a restaurant to tell them I was drunk."

Gagnon told QMI he hasn't had a drink in six years.

Now a youth speed skating coach, Gagnon says he's "the person best suited to give these kids a chance to succeed ... And I'm happy to be moving forward."


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