Paris 2024: "The brain and the body know the place by heart, that’s the advantage"…How the French are already taking advantage of competition venues

Enjoy the convenience of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games at home. For many French athletes, the future Olympic and Paralympic sites have been their training ground for several years. This is the case for the French sailing, shooting and canoeing teams, which respectively benefit from the facilities in Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), Châteauroux (Indre) and Vaires-sur-Marne (Seine-et- Marne) to prepare for the Paris Games.

Jean-Baptiste Bernaz, windsurfer, laser world champion (2022) and four-time finalist at the Olympic Games, even settled in Marseille two years ago to prepare for his Olympic adventure. “I really wanted to immerse myself in the place. We have been taking charge of the lake for two years, even before the renovation. Spending time there allows you to gain a lot of knowledge and anticipation “, confides the one who wanted to put all the chances on his side to “feel no regrets in five months.” If the Marseille Marina was inaugurated on April 2, athletes have already been able to train for a year on a brand new site. “It’s truly royal, he rejoices. We have very careful preparation.”

In sailing, knowledge of the places is a determining factor in performance. “Every body of water is different. And Marseille is very particular, with relief and heat in summer, analyzes Jean-Baptiste Bernaz. This causes drafts and disturbances, which can be very variable. The fact of training on the site allows us to better understand its conditions and to be able to find benchmarks.” If foreign athletes can also come and get their bearings on the site, the French team has been carrying out numerous training sessions for several years at different times, in order to cope with all climatic conditions.

The reasoning is the same for shooting. “Depending on your position in the stand, you will have conditions that are a little different, depending on the wind and the temperature, hence the interest in trying the different placements,” explains Jérémy Monnier, national coach of the Olympic rifle team.

For athletes, the challenge is therefore the same in sailing and shooting, in other words to become familiar with the facilities and conditions characteristic of the place, such as “know the vagaries of the wind and the sea in the bay of Marseille, notes Julien Bontemps, coach of the French windsurfing team. For example, when the wind comes from the land, the sea is generally rather flat, and when we have the mistral, it causes swells.” So much data that Julien Bontemps and the coaches of the French team list in order to build a sort of dictionary of good strategies to adopt, whatever the weather conditions.

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  • Source of information and images “svoboda

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