After a career full of titles, it was his “only regret”: having had to bow out behind closed doors, in the midst of the emergence of the Covid, in 2020. Soon, on the basis of an original project, Martin Fourcade will finally be able to live its “jubilee”, going on stage across France.
Kontiolahti, Finland, March 14, 2020. After five Olympic titles and 11 individual world titles, one of the greatest biathletes in history ends with a final victory in pursuit… in front of empty stands. The world is then preparing to confine itself for months in the face of the spread of Covid-19.
Fourcade, he will mature a show project on his career as a high-level athlete. Entitled “off-piste”, lasting an hour and fifteen minutes, the Catalan will present it from the fall in around ten cities (17 dates in total), including Perpignan, “where it all began”.
“I was missing something human in the goodbye that I had been able to do”, explains to AFP the one who today holds the position of president of the athletes’ commission for the Paris-2024 Games and which is a member of that of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
QUESTION: Where did this original idea come from?
ANSWER: “It’s a desire that was born during the Covid phase. I realized that I was missing something human in the goodbye that I had been able to do in biathlon (… ), what is called in high-level sport a jubilee. I very quickly realized that a show could fill all the boxes, through a tour in France, this direct contact with the public, emotions that I I wanted to share, with a risk-taking too”.
Q: The element of surprise is real, have you tried to spare it?
A: “I needed to take ownership of the project, to keep it a little confidential in the first months to be able to move forward with serenity in its construction. On the other hand, over the years, I have talked a lot about the end career, what is called +the little death+ in sports jargon (…) In any case, in my heart of hearts, I can say that I really felt that the moment I had chosen was the good. The only regret had been not being able to say goodbye as I imagined”.
Q: With this show, will you have definitely turned the page?
A: “Yes, there is this feeling. It’s a period of my life that will inevitably follow me until the end, because it’s something strong and it’s a big part of my identity (. ..) But it is also something that sportingly ended three years ago and which must find its end and allow me to move on”.
Q: How do you put on such a show when you’re a novice?
A: “We get support, like in high-level sport. In fact, there are plenty of parallels. It’s both universes that are totally different in terms of codes, in form, but which, in terms of background, are extremely close, from the creation of the project, where we are going to land, to build a season calendar, to the team that we are building… Until this stage fright of going on stage on a very specific date. (…) I put together my team a bit piecemeal. First with the co-author, Sébastien Deurdilly, who works in the world of images, then the production with the national scene of Grenoble who presented to the director Matthieu Cruciani. In the end, it is a project that involves a good twenty people, including ten on the touring part”.
Q: Is there more stage fright in the last shot of a biathlon race or the thought of a first on stage?
A: “There is more stage fright to go on stage because today I have less control over the universe. When I arrived on a last running shot, despite the pressure, I had this baggage of years of competition and athlete which allowed me to have confidence. It is all the challenge of the next months to build for me by the work this feeling which will make it possible to transform the jitters of fear only into jitters of vigilance. that the easy thing is still that I know the character that I’m going to play…”.
Q: You have functions at the IOC and with regard to the Games. You manage?
A: “I have a long tunnel ahead of me that will end at the 2024 Paris Games. I’m not going to lie, it’s not going to be a very relaxing year! I think I’ve made it (so far) thanks to the entourage that I put in place. Afterwards, it’s something that I enjoy and there’s nothing about it that I do reluctantly. It’s rather exciting”.
Interview by Guillaume KLEIN