Hailing from Quebec, Canada’s Danielle Bouchard had a long and successful career as a boxer before taking up coaching full time, and is now in the midst of her first Olympic Games experience with the national team. On Tuesday she will once more be in the corner with the talented flyweight Mandy Bujold, as she faces China’s London 2012 silver medalist Ren Cancan in the Quarter-Finals.
“My first Olympics has been amazing, butof course we have to treat it like any other competition so we haven’t got the wider perspective in terms of the size of the event. We always hope for medals and know that we are capable because we have three quality athletes with great potential.”
Danielle Bouchard was something of a pioneer in women’s boxing in Canada, and has been integral in its upward trajectory since the 1990s. As it has developed as an Olympic sport, she sees an increase in the number of women coaches as the next important step.
“Good results here mean more investment that we can put towards the next generation and keep improving. I was one of the few women boxers when the sport began in Canada in 1991, and we have seen the results since then, both in terms of the athletes and the referees and judges, so im sure it will be the same for the coaches as well.”
Working in the Canadian team’s corner at the Olympics might be a dream come true, but after a long career inside the ring, the Canadian wasn’t immediately thinking about becoming a coach.
“I had 72 bouts in my career and wasn’t ready to go straight into coaching, but I had a few requests from women boxers and I thought that would be a great place to start. I wasn’t necessarily thinking about only coaching women, but it has worked well with the girls so far, perhaps because I am psychologically closer to them. We need more female coaches, and I hope that all countries can give a little more room to the girls who want to get into that side of it.”
As for the sport at large, Danielle Bouchard believes that this is merely the beginning. “Women’s boxing has improved greatly in recent years and for the girls to be boxing at London 2012 was obviously a huge step, but now we know we want to grow to more than three weight categories, and our goal is at least five for Tokyo 2020. I think we have proved to everybody that we can compete at the same level as the men.”