Pushing each other since youth, Thompson’s will harness their sibling connection in Beijing 2022
Contributor: Ben Steiner
Broderick Thompson remembers the summer camping trips; the family packed into their Ford F-250, heading north of Whistler or south to Washington State. For the Thompson family, it was a rare time to breathe, relax and have a bit of fun.
Whistler locals, the Thompson’s are as elite as families can get. Marielle is an Olympic ski cross champion and one of the best in the sport's history, Broderick is a World Cup Super-G medalist, and Tessa is a former figure skater with Disney on Ice.
Success may be normal for them now, but it didn’t come easy; many hours were spent on road trips to their cabin north of Whistler to ski races and figure skating competitions. The family has always had a competitive drive, even from when the kids were toddlers.
“Broderick would say it too -- he is a massive factor in my success,” said Marielle, who has won 50 World Cup medals. “I think basically from when he could walk, he was pushing me in every aspect and always chasing me and probably making me better as an athlete.”
For the three of them, sports were not always about winning even as their accolades and accomplishments piled up. While the competitive juices boiled, sports were always about fun. Whether it was soccer, baseball, figure skating, or ski racing, they took defeats and injuries in stride, bouncing back for the next opportunity.
“The competitiveness we’ve had as a family, and also the relaxed way we talk about sport, it's really competitive on the field but it is not so bad when you have a bad day,” said Broderick. “Having Marielle as an older sister, I always wanted to beat her and be faster and she was the same, so when I got stronger and bigger, I think it helped push her too.”
Parents Rod and Pam Thompson, never reached their children's sporting heights, but they too carry competitive genes. Pam played soccer and baseball, in addition to skiing. Meanwhile, from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Rod played hockey and baseball.
This love of sport rubbed off on the kids, powering them to the Olympic Games where before the pandemic, Rod and Pam would attend as many of their kids’ events as possible.
“They signed us up and invested a lot into our sports,” said Marielle. “They would tell us to make the most of it, but they also told us to have fun in everything we do, and do our best and that’s really what it came down to.”
At Beijing 2022, Marielle seeks a second Olympic gold medal at her third Games. Meanwhile, Broderick looks to add to his hardware collection after his bronze medal run in the Beaver Creek Super-G in November 2021.
Despite pushing the boundaries for one another, Broderick and Marielle were extremely close when they were young and remain so today despite their opposing World Cup schedules.
“I always got dragged to Marielle’s competitions, so I would go and then compete.,” said Broderick. “I would play a few years up in soccer, figure skating, and do the Nancy Greene races before I was old enough, and I think that helped me develop as an athlete.”
The Olympics, however, hold more significance. In 2017, Marielle ruptured her ACL and MCL while training in Switzerland, putting her 2018 Olympic hopes in jeopardy. She battled back in time to make it to Pyeongchang 2018, but a fall in the quarterfinal ended her gold medal hopes. In Beijing, she is coming off a World Cup bronze in Nakiska and has momentum on her side. Broderick had similar injury woes with a serious fall resulting in a knee injury that has taken two years to recover fully; the 2021-2022 World Cup season is his first since the crash. He will take advantage of the opportunity to continue building skills on the downhill and Super-G, where he has shown he can compete on the toughest of slopes.
“It’s super cool. With Broderick’s great results this season, he’s worked so hard to get back into that top form,” said Marielle of her brother. “I was super proud of him and stoked to share that experience because not many siblings get to go to the Olympics.”
The Thompson siblings spent a lot of time cooped up in a Ford F-250 growing up but years later, all three are thriving and the family -- stretched across the globe -- stays as tight-knit as ever.
“To be going to a second Olympics with Marielle, It’s awesome,” said Broderick. “I couldn’t ask for a better scenario.”