Canadian beach volleyball star wins $50,000 in TV reality show

MONTREAL- Canadian beach volleyball player Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle, Que., won the $50,000 first prize on Sunday in the TV reality show Défi des Champions broadcast by the TVA network.

Lessard, one half of Canada’s top ranked with Annie Martin, performed a double trapeze act in Sunday’s final and received the biggest popular favour from the public and judges. The Défi des Champions, is similar to American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, except star athletes perform circus acts à la Cirque du Soleil each week. 

NHL player Mathieu Dandenault and short track speed skater Marc Gagnon were the other two finalists on Sunday night. Other athletes entered in the program included Manon Rhéaume, Bruny Surin and Montreal Alouette Etienne Boulay.

‘’I’m very proud,’’ said Lessard. ‘’This prize is going to help me get to the Olympics.’’