Martin Fourcade (Face to Face): "Biathlon is today recognized at its fair value"

Martin Fourcade (Face to Face): “Biathlon is today recognized at its fair value”

Clash of the Titans ! This Sunday, March 19, Canal+ is offering a most original documentary in prime time. In Face to face: a history of championsthe Adventure Line Productions teams (Koh-LantaFort Boyard…) caused a meeting between two great sportsmen: the footballer Robert Pires and the biathlete Martin Fourcade. For a week, between confessions and training sessions, the 1998 world champion traveled to Savoie to try his hand at the discipline of the most successful French athlete in history. Martin Fourcade returns for Tele-Leisure on this experience.

“I have been talking with ALP for years about this program project”

Tele-Leisure : How did this project get started ?

Martin Fourcade : I have been talking for years with Julien Magne, Alexia Laroche-Joubert and the ALP teams on a sports program project. When Canal+ showed interest, they thought of me. This type of format was lacking in the French audiovisual landscape.

Did you personally choose Robert Pires?

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No not at all. But it could have! (laughs) We had never met. Robert, on the other hand, had met my brother Simon at an event.

Why did you decide to practice an individual sport?

I also practiced team sports. Perhaps I had this slightly more individualistic spirit and this desire to surpass myself. My character and my family environment also had to play. With two brothers, my parents wanted me to practice a discipline where I could flourish on my own. I never asked myself the question, it just happened.

“In the preparation and the mental approach, our two disciplines have similarities”

Is victory in individual sport experienced differently than collective success?

You can’t have everything, you have to make choices and I don’t regret anything. There was no shortage. Team sports have this necessarily attractive aspect. On the other hand, they must be missing this personal outcome. These are emotions and a sharing that are different.

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Despite the many differences between your two disciplines, have you found similarities in your respective backgrounds?

In the preparation, the concentration and the mental approach, yes. I knew for example that Robert Pires would be better in the final challenge than in training.. It’s a parallel that I was able to draw with all the great athletes that I had the chance to meet: this ability to raise the level and to respond at the right time. This is really the common point between all top athletes.

You are the most successful French athlete of all time, the man with 100 medals including five Olympic titles. How and where do you find motivation when you are at the top?

I had two phases in my career. The first goes until 2014, that of the quest for an Olympic title. That’s what drove me. Then, I found the motivation in the desire to practice my sport as best as possible. It was a kind of quest for perfection, obviously unattainable, To get as close as possible to the perfect biathlete.

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“Biathlon is recognized today for its fair value”

Biathlon is much less publicized than football. Does it pain you?

On the first part of my career, I could have had this frustration. But objectively, it has changed a lot today. The media coverage of biathlon is substantial and my discipline is recognized at its fair value. You have to be objective nothing can compete with the power of football. And then biathlon remains a niche sport. So the comparison really doesn’t make sense.

Robert Pires comes to challenge you to the biathlon. And you, what are you worth a ball to the foot?

I am neither good nor bad. I have physical abilities that compensate for the lack of technique. But I have a big flaw: that of wanting to be on the ball all the time. In individual, we are always the one who plays. So when I see a ball, I always want to run after it! (laughs)

What sport would you like to tackle?

Maybe diving or skydiving. Things that push a mental limit, more than a technical limit.

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“I had the chance to go after my dream”

In this documentary, you talk about your retirement from sport. Is this ‘after’ hard to manage?

I was lucky to have a smooth transition with titles, notoriety and no financial problems. I had the chance to go after my dream. So stopping in 2020 was the right time. For some athletes, however, it can be brutal. After yes, there is a change of life. I was looking for more simplicity and tranquility, being more at home with my family.

You are now a member of the IOC and chairman of the Athletes’ Commission of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Would you like the Winter Olympics in France?

The adventure of Paris 2024 is magic! I take great pleasure in bringing my stone to this project. The Olympic Games at home is once every hundred years. So I do not project myself beyond 2024.

Would you like to develop other projects for the small screen?

I would like to be able to transmit to the general public the emotion that can be felt in the mountains. When we are lucky we go there once, or even twice, a year… But never for many French people. I had the chance to grow up in this universe and to flourish there. TV would be a great medium for doing this.

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