No feat for Kevin Mayer. Three weeks after his second world champion title in Eugene (United States), the Frenchman preferred to give up of the first test of the decathlon of European Championship in Munich, on Monday August 15, for “stop before you hurt yourself”.
The double Olympic runner-up had traveled to Munich in search of a rare double, which would have been achieved in less than a month. A “incredible goal” in their own words, but difficult to access. “I may have had eyes bigger than my stomach”stressed the decathlete.
Competing in a decathlon leaves traces. Surely, “the time of pure physical effort does not exceed, altogether, seven minutes on the two days of competition”explain Gaëtan Blouin, head of combined events at the French Athletics Federation (FFA). Nevertheless, “We turn the body in all directions to throw, run, jump. The traumas of ten disciplines add up for the body, which takes one or two weeks to recover”, points out.
“In every event, there are micro-injuries, the muscles have to regenerate.”Gaëtan Blouin, Head of FFA Combined Events
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But the tests are linked for two days. “complete”leaving little time for recovery. “Baptist [Thiery, 21 ans, l’autre Français engagé sur le décathlon] He managed to take an hour of nap before starting to warm up again on Monday. Yesterday afternoonhe went to bed at midnight, at the latest, and breakfast was at 5:30, so the body could not fully recover, recounts Gaëtan Blouin. This Tuesday, there will be a lot of accumulated fatigue, and that’s why also in combined events, you are more likely to get injured.”
Only seven athletes present at the World Cup traveled to Munich, 22 days later.“Three didn’t start because they weren’t fully recovered from the encounter with Eugene, not to mention Kevin. The team’s physios are very busy. It wouldn’t be surprising to see others ‘standing in the middle of a race.’create the FFA member.
In addition to physical fatigue, “the decathlon is traumatic from a nervous point of view”, explains the head of the combined events. “It usually takes three to four weeks for the euphoria to wear off.”
“Some recover quickly from their emotions,” specifies Stéphane Diagana, world champion in the 400m hurdles and consultant for France Télévisions. Kevin Mayer is not one of them. “During the competition, Kevin mounted very high on the towers, in terms of nerves, adrenaline, that’s what allows him to do exceptional things. METERBut from behind, he has impressive nervous breakdowns. All of this makes her recovery start much later than everyone else’s, and makes it much more difficult for her to continue.”, confirmed Gaëtan Blouin.
That’s why Kevin Mayer usually limits himself to one decathlon per season. “This is how he sees his sport, it is an event that makes sacred”, sums up Stéphane Diagana. The last sequence of two competitions for the Frenchman dates back to 2018. That year, he did not finish the decathlon of the European Championships in Berlin, at the beginning of August, after three failures in the long jump, before breaking the world record in the Decastar in Talence (Gironde), in mid-September.
If you only compete in a decathlon within a season, he continuously trains for his annual event. “Constantly think about your deadlineexplains Gaëtan Blouin. That’s the big difference with soccer players, for example: they have games every week, while we don’t have regular results. We work hard for one or two events a year. Team sports call us masochists, because there is no psychological truce.”
This reduced number of participations in events explains the immense fear of injury. “NOour deadline is so far away, so many things can happen in the meantime, everything is very uncertain, underlines Gaëtan Blouin. But once the the result is over, the pressure and tension drop, and the holidays are welcome.”
“Above all I don’t want to rest injured and have a debt for the next season”warned Kevin Mayer before the competition. He had experienced such misadventure when getting injured at the Doha World Cup in 2019. This timeMEThe French can take a long break (“at least three or four months”, he confided last week) calmly. And thus prepare as well as possible for the World Cup in Budapest, his goal for 2023.
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