The Rise of a Champion
Today, Bionic Body has grown into something far bigger than Edgard ever initially imagined. His Facebook page has more than 20,000 likes, and his Instagram profile boasts more than 65,000 followers. He inspires and motivates thousands of people daily. He frequently receives emails and messages from people telling him that seeing him succeed in spite of his handicap has put things in perspective for them, and given them the mental fortitude to push through their own obstacles and difficulties.
Bionic Body has also opened up many new doors for Edgard: the 30-year-old bodybuilder is both a sponsored Myprotein athlete and an ambassador for Ossur, an Icelandic company specializing in noninvasive orthopedic equipment and prosthetics.
“Right around the time I relocated to Paris after I earned my BTS, my prostheses broke,” he recalls. “They were old models that I had been carrying since my younger days, and they restricted me in the gym. This turned out to be a godsend, as I ended up going to a specialist who equipped me with some awesome prostheses, allowing me to safely load and work my legs in the gym.
“With my prostheses, I am able to perform a variety of leg work,” he explains. “I love doing leg presses, hack squats, leg extensions, and leg curls, as I am able to safely control the weight on those exercises. Barbell squats and deadlifts can also be executed, though I tend to go lighter with these movements, since balance can become an issue if I go too heavy.”
In September 2014, upon the urging of friends and colleagues, Edgard hired a coach to prepare for his first competition. “To be honest, I had never considered competing,” he admits. “It just wasn’t something I thought I had in me, or that I had potential for. But since a lot of people I knew had been encouraging me to compete, I decided to try my hand at it.”
And so Edgard competed at the Grand Prix Des Pyrénées in April 2015. Wheelchair bodybuilding isn’t very widespread in France yet, with only the biggest contest in the country hosting a division for it. However, that didn’t stop Edgard; he wrote to the director of the Grand Prix Des Pyrénées, who arranged for him to be able to stand and pose alongside regular competitors, even though he wouldn’t be judged.
“I’m a bit of an odd case in that, on paper, I belong to the wheelchair division of the sport, but in actuality, I am fortunate enough to be capable of standing up and performing all the regular mandatory poses that you have in the regular divisions,” he recalls. “To me, the opportunity to walk onstage among nonhandicapped athletes was the most beautiful experience ever. It was priceless.”
After the show, the head coach for the French national team asked him to compete in the European Championships, in Spain, to be held three weeks later. Edgard obliged, and in May 2015, he was crowned the European IFBB Wheelchair Bodybuilding Champion.
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