“The French won’t start winning overnight”. The words of Renaud Lavillenie every day The world French athletics is still reeling from its world worst with just one medal, Kevin Mayer’s gold in the decathlon. Two years from the Paris 2024 Olympics, the French pole vaulter does not believe in a good last minute preparation.
It’s an opinion that the athletic federation doesn’t seem to share because that’s exactly what it wants to do. “We will set up in the coming months a performance optimization unit, surrounded by a researcher. If it helps athletes by a hundred or a centimeter it will make the difference,” launched by Romain Barras, performance director of the FFA, at the end of the Eugene Worlds. All supervised by Bertrand Valcin, technical manager and former trainer of… Kevin Mayer.
While waiting for the former decathlete coach to miraculously produce potential Olympic champions for us and on the occasion of the penultimate anniversary before Paris 2024, 20 minutes of good students who are more or less young, more or less known, who, all the games combined, should scratch one or two medals without having to go through last minute remedial lessons.
Swimming: Léon Marchand, the evidence
He would have been on our list regardless, and to be honest, his incredible success at the swimming worlds (three medals, including two golds) almost drove us mad. Because of him, we can’t say that we knew before you that he would torture the competition in his favorite distances and in the relay. Leon took care of that for us. But that doesn’t change anything: he is still young (20 years old), he resists the pressure of big events, in short, he is what the leaders of the French sport want to do with the drums of the last Olympics .
Aim for medals : Let’s be kind and not too ambitious. We will content ourselves with the same three medals as at the world championships.
Swimming: Maxime Grousset, another good surprise
In the completely unknown category, we will not mention Maxime Grousset either. Fourth in the 100m freestyle in Tokyo, the French swimmer returned from the Budapest Worlds with silver in the 50m freestyle and bronze in the 100m. In fact, we often find fault with it, line the loss of the Russians, with some favorites, this, that. But Grousset’s progress is real, and should lead the young man (23) to the Olympic podiums in two years.
Aim of the medals: As for Marchand, we will use the same menu as the World. Two medals doesn’t sound like much.
110m hurdles: Sasha Zhoya in search of blossoming
“Patience is not my strong point. It seems obvious from the mouth of a 19-year-old boy whose job it is to run faster than everyone else. But this year, Sasha Zoya has to take it on herself. First, he waited for the French championships to set a benchmark time (13”17). Then, he had to learn with the big boys at Eugène Worlds, where he went “without pressure”. And fell on the carpet. At the end of the obstacles, we came to an agreement. In the United States, Zhoya did not reach the final, but was satisfied with the experience. This is good. But time is running out now. In two years, more than maturity, it should be successful. A challenge worthy of his impatience.
Aim of the medals: one and the other, French athletics is not in a position to be selective.
Breakdance: Martin Lejeune, on the rhythm for 2024
Like Steven Da Costa in Tokyo, he has no room for error in Paris. Like karate last year, its discipline, breakdancing, will be tested in the 2024 Olympics and there is no guarantee that it will return to Los Angeles in 2028. But the aptly named Lejeune – he will be 21 in two years – is is already one of the great promises of his discipline, as evidenced by his silver medal at the Buenos Aires YOG in 2018. A feat of arms in which the discipline is now established in French territory on the borders of the 2024 goal.
Aim of the medals: We want the gold and nothing else, Martin. In a pinch of money, if we consider that we are not always lucky in the disciplines where a jury decides our fate.
Gymnastics: Melanie de Jesus dos Santos
Far from being known, the French gymnast is one of the most anticipated in Paris. He has the advantage of discovering the Olympic Games in Tokyo, in 2021. This allows him to gain experience and make his face reality, which is at a very high ruthless level. Apart from the podium in the all-around, team and uneven bars, Mélanie Jesus dos Santos decided to continue her career in the United States with Simone Biles, whose coaches are French.
“My project is the 2024 Olympic preparation,” he said before the big start. We expect no less.
Aim of the medals: One or two seems to reach an athlete of his talent.