“For the first time in 40 years, France did not win a title in the European Championship…
Yes, no gold medal. Later, we are a sport of millimeters, centimeters. As we have seen, it is one thousandth that could have turned a silver medal into gold (Pascal Martinot-Lagarde in the 110m hurdles); it is one hundredth that a bronze medal is lost. It’s sport, it’s athletics. I don’t want to stop at this review. I want to make a balance a little more than a “placement table” (ranking of finishers). We have to find the explanations why we don’t have more medals.
We have athletes who were in Eugene and put their best form in Eugene, Mayers, Bigots, Tuals, Lavillenies came here a little bit bored at least and that makes the chances of medals fly away. But that’s normal. These are people who have world class ambitions, their best form has to be at the World Championships. The satisfactions, on the other hand, are the France team as a whole. I am proud of the athletes, of the image they showed. We wanted to use this European Championship as a base, a base for Paris 2024 to be able to toughen up and test certain youngsters, and there are some who have responded. Finalists, podiums, personal records in an international context, these are images that we like, characters that we want to see revealed. And that is what we have to rely on to build, that is what the France team will do for tomorrow.
“23 finalists is indicative of a certain density”
Is it strong enough?
23 finalists is something that reveals a certain density. Ok, it’s a European level, it’s an intermediate level, but there are three stages in the final and two on the podium. Relays are often said to be indicative of a national team. There, our relays met. The 4×100 men did a great course, the 4×400 men has perspectives that are very, very nice too. That’s what you have to trust. I am optimistic and realistic and my optimism leads me to believe that beautiful things are going to happen.
Of the nine medals, few are world class…
Yes, but both between the world middle distance and the European middle distance there is a gap, so much, we see it in the long jump, it is not the people from outside Europe who dominate. You have to put it in context. The wind conditions throughout the race were difficult to manage, as were the cold conditions during the second part of the week. It is difficult to compare performances from one championship to another. Today we have built, we are in the process of building something on the European Championship. I think we will wait until next year in Budapest with all that it includes. As there are many young people, two years is not long for the macro, but it is a long time for athletes. Already in one season, a lot is happening. And many things will happen.
“The objective is not simply to think about Paris 2024. We must not forget that we are also building the athletics of tomorrow”
What can you do for Paris 2024?
Optimize what we can have today as a generation. We are not going to create a generation spontaneously, even if you saw it in Cali at the Junior World Cup, we have two world champions with Ammirati and Konaté, who are the youngsters who were not eligible for here, but who will surely make it to the scene of the French national team next year. And then for us, it’s optimization. Optimization is saving hundredths, thousandths, centimeters for some people. We surrounded ourselves with a future research director of the federation who spent his week talking with the coaches, with the athletes to see the areas for improvement and Bertrand Valcin who is in the optimization unit who was also there to start looking at the projects to be put in its place
It’s a bit late for 2024, isn’t it?
We can say that it is a little late. The problem is that I am going to talk about what I can dominate and what I can dominate is to put things on my scale, that is, from now on. We build them, we put them in their place. And maybe it will bear fruit by 2028 or 2029. And much better. The objective is not simply to think about Paris 2024. We must not forget that we are also building the athletics of tomorrow. The project that we had in high performance is that we build diachronically. We have this first objective Paris 2024. We have to do it because, in the media, on a national scale, it is very important. But let’s not forget the coming generations so that we can lay the foundation for the coming generation.
It took a long time to start…
Perhaps before the priorities were not put in the same place. Because of my past, because of my culture, because of the people who trained me, I attach importance to the training of the young generation in order to make it grow. Sometimes, we stop to tell ourselves that we are only maximizing the highest level, the showcase of athletics. In my opinion, you have to do both. We have a beautiful showcase, you have to pamper it, you have to show it. But without forgetting the lower layer and the young people who arrive. »
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