The biathlete from Isère, silver medalist in the mixed relay at the previous Olympic Winter Games, will be in the game on Saturday in Sweden for the launch of the Biathlon World Cup.

While the Biathlon World Cup is back, Saturday November 27 in Östersund, the biathlete Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet returned for Franceinfo: sport on his preparation, the return of the public, his ambitions for the Beijing Winter Olympics and the atmosphere within the French women’s team.

Biathlon: the transformation of Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet L’Iséroise returned to the circuit this season after a break of more than a year devoted to her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter.

You returned to competition last year after your pregnancy, what is your assessment of your previous season?

Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet: Finally, my results were mixed. Yes, I had some great races, but besides that they weren’t all entirely satisfactory to me. It was mixed. I was really happy to have been successful at the Worlds, to have been there on the big day. It’s something I don’t always manage to do but then, when I went to the Worlds, I told myself that I was going there to win and nothing else, to perform and nothing else. Obviously I would have liked to bring home more medals but I was happy because it was far from being won. There were still a lot of races where I missed, especially in my shooting and it took a long time to digest it. My shooting, which was my strong point, became my weak point and I didn’t like it a bit. But on the other hand, it gave me some leads to work on.

It went pretty well, we did a lot of altitude training courses this summer. We haven’t changed much in terms of substance or form, when it works we shouldn’t change the recipe. For my part, I still mounted the sliders as much as possible everywhere because it’s still an Olympic year and because I clearly have the ambition to succeed, to give myself every chance. We’ll be counting the points at the end but I really don’t want to have any regrets. I am doing all I can to be successful at the Olympics.

You showed a big level at the Nordic Festival in Annecy by winning in front of opponents that you will find in Beijing. Is it still a good indicator?

Yes that’s it, in summer races you never know what the others have done, whether you arrive prepared or not. What I remember is that, physically, I was not necessarily very well but in terms of shooting I put things in place. And what I’ve been working on for a few months, I managed to put in place with pressure. It was a good point to validate in the preparation, and it’s the kind of race that makes me want to work even harder to tell myself that I’m right.

It was really nice. We are not going to celebrate too quickly because in my opinion in Beijing, it will be empty. We have two or three great World Cup stages with a crowd waiting for us before the games, and that will do a lot of people good. At the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival, I really enjoyed running in front of the crowd and I missed it a little bit last year. You don’t really realize it when you’re in the business but when you see it again, it’s true that it’s nice.

In the French women’s team, is there a biathlete who plays the role of leader?

We have a problem with the rich, we have four good records, so yes indeed Anaïs Bescond has Olympic medals, Julia has a very strong character that shines when you have to shine and Justine is no slouch either. As for me, last year I didn’t want to impose myself because I had come a long way, but now we have to get back to the life of the group. But ultimately we have four different personalities and there is no leadership. I think it’s the team first and foremost. It would be a waste of energy to want to find a leader.

In terms of the organization of the season, do we already know if there will be dead ends in the World Cup to focus on the Olympics?

Not at this time, but I will advise based on my fitness level. I’m leaving for the full season in the World Cup. The best way to prepare for the Games, in my opinion, is to run ahead.

It’s a pretty good sign to be there on a big deadline ahead of Beijing. Is the goal a first medal in individual and relay?

I don’t want to give a specific target, but the relay medal is very important to us. It’s the collective medal, and that’s been a bit complicated for the girls for a few years at the world championships. We were really bad luck last year because we were in contention for a medal but we had a technical problem with the skis and that, the pill still has not passed. It’s an important medal for us. The individual medal makes me dream, it would be the apotheosis. I put the maximum chances on my side to hopefully win it.

There will be the Norwegians, and the Italians too. How lucky I was to have been around all of my direct opponents during the summer so that’s good. I met the Italians and Norwegians during an internship, like Francesca Preuss at the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival. It’s always well before the season to have a chat to get back into the mix.

Yes, obviously we look, we have to but I didn’t feel intimidated, they don’t scare me. I know my worst opponent in a race is me. So I don’t have to be afraid of other people.

Double world champion in biathlon, Émilien Jacquelin is aiming for “a first Olympic medal, if possible gold”


2022 Olympics: French female hockey players ideally start their TQO with a victory against Korea

Every day, Franceinfo selects content from European public audiovisual media, members of Eurovision. These contents are published in English or French.