With his videos which have been viewed over 30 million times on social networks, Montrealer Elladj Baldé has undoubtedly become one of the most prominent figure skaters on the web.

The 30-year-old athlete, who divides his life between Quebec and Alberta, is talking about him these days in The Guardian in London, on RFI in France and even on Sveriges Radio, in Sweden.

This success in recent months, he owes it to the impressive content he publishes on the Instagram and Tik-Tok platforms. His choreographies, filmed on frozen lakes in Calgary or even on outdoor skating rinks in Longueuil, set the web on fire. Elladj Baldé especially went viral thanks to his impressive back flip and his confidence on the ice.

“I finally come to terms with myself as a black skater and for who I am by being as sincere and authentic as possible. I think that this is what partly explains the success of the videos published in recent months, ”he confided to Newspaper.

White universe

After retiring from competition in 2018, the athlete of Russian and Guinean origins has finally found his way. The former member of the Canadian figure skating team is campaigning today to diversify his sport through social networks.

“I grew up in this environment skating in Quebec, where there was not a lot of diversity. I had difficulty accepting myself in this white and European universe. I speak especially of my black and African side, says Mr. Baldé. I was trying to fit into a box that was not mine. “

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“I have already been told remarks that I should cut my curly hair because it is not clean,” he says to illustrate the manifestations of racism he has experienced.

Long the only black on the ice during competitions, Elladj Baldé says he lacked role models in his youth. He now hopes to become an inspiration for future generations.

More accessible

In the hope of making his sport more inclusive, the young man also co-founded “The Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance” last June. The organization offers, among other things, training and equipment to young people from black communities.

“Figure skating is extremely expensive, laments Mr. Baldé. Many colored skaters stop practicing it just because their families cannot afford it. The lack of representation in sport makes them let go, but so do financial resources. “

“With our organization, if we can at least change mentalities in the world of figure skating to begin with, perhaps that will be able to reach all of society thereafter”, concludes the athlete.

www.journaldemontreal.com

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