A Young Champion Among Us: Paul’s Story
by Paul Mandelos, Ricky Liu & Behraz Rezaie
Paul Mandelos, first year Pure and Applied student at Marianopolis, is among a select group of multidisciplinary athletes from across Canada that have been recruited to be part of NextGen program from Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. The program was created to find athletes to land on the podium in 2026. He is the youngest member of recruits aged between 18-26 years old.
“I’ve been interested in Skeleton ever since I was 10 years old, watching John Montgomery win the Gold medal on home soil in the 2010 Vancouver games”, he explained with a sparkle in his eyes. Paul’s journey began with his participation in the GMAA Track and Field program. Winning numerous medals, he joined the McGill Olympic Club where he trained with the university varsity team. This past summer, he participated and made the Quebec finals at the RBC Training Ground. As a multi-sport athlete who practices football, hockey, rugby and track, his initial explosive speed caught the attention of a few National federations as he bolted into a top five finish in speed events in the province.
In October, Paul was invited to the prospect skeleton training camp in Calgary that had almost 50 athletes vying for coveted NextGen spots while participating in a series of push tests, on-ice sliding tests, and dry-land speed tests. By the time he returned home, he was officially a member of the NextGen program. Paul spent the rest of November back in Calgary, testing and training to hit the required national standards.
“Being part of the Sport-Études program made this possible”, he declared. Missing almost a full month of classes, he had to keep up with his studies by Facetime, working around his training schedule to keep up his grades. “I’m proud of training at the national level and maintaining an A average – I’ve learned that you have to work hard to get what you want. It is key to have the support and help from the faculty and staff at Marianopolis.”
His journey continues to Whistler, BC where he will be training from January to February, preparing for the Canadian Championships. More training and studying are in store for him. Once Paul returns, he will continue classes and get ready for the next training session in Lake Placid, NY in the month of March. The tracks that are part of the training grounds have been previously used in the Olympics. The NextGen athletes are required to complete a certain amount of runs to qualify for the North American Cup. “Every run I take gives me goosebumps, knowing that an Olympic medal was won on these tracks”, he remarks with a smile.
Paul has always been intrigued about speed; it is no coincident that his favourite animal is a cheetah. “There’s no feeling like it, hitting speeds well over 120km an hour, pushing the sled and your body to go faster every run”, he exclaims.
Being the youngest in the program, he knows there is still a lot to learn. “Every sliding class I attend, or every run or push I work on, I’m always looking to learn and get better. Being part of a science program helps me understand the physics involved in driving. You have to be aware of every movement your body makes; every turn and bump in the ice tunnel changes your run instantly”
“It’s a dream to have the maple leaf on my chest representing Canada” he declares and smiles positively.
We wish Paul the best of luck on his path towards National and International competitions as a NextGen Skeleton athlete.