Is shooting really a sport? This question comes up like a chestnut tree every four years. And even sometimes before, when the discipline is cited as a bad example by those who campaign, in particular, for the introduction of Esport to the Olympic program. Or who imagined seeing the pétanque present for Paris 2024. To this pernicious question, Mathilde Lamolle (24) has learned, over time, to prowl her speech. Thus, to AFP, the young Aubagne shooter, who participates this Sunday in the compressed air pistol test (10m), confides, as a good advocate of her discipline: "
I understand that it appears very static for sports.
But in fact, it is very complete, with the management of thoughts, the surpassing of oneself, which are also for me elements that define high level sport.
Even if we do not move, our heart races in important moments and a lot of muscles are engaged, even if obviously it is less than in a sprint.
In any case, at the end of the matches and of the training sessions, I have aches from standing, tense.
The shoulder and the arm, especially, are very stressed.
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Mentally and physically, we feel as tired as after a half hour of basketball.
Enough to convince the most reluctant? "
I know that some will not be convinced,
" adds, lucid, Mathilde Lamolle. "
But when people tell me it's not sport, I tell them to take a one kilo dumbbell (the weight of his pistol, note), to stay in the aiming position for 20 seconds and repeat that 60 times. After five, they are tired. Afterwards, I agree that it is not necessarily a very physical sport. We are not out of breath at the end of a match. But mentally and physically, we feel as tired as after a half-hour basketball. When you put the necessary intensity at the high level, yes, it's a sport.
Now, failing to succeed in returning their jacket to the refractories, the shooter will endeavor especially in Tokyo to aim right for the first Olympic medal of her career.
On the heels of his European title
A motivation all the stronger since five years ago, in Rio, the Frenchwoman had not succeeded in realizing her dream of participating in the Games in a good sporting performance.
Eliminated in qualifying with a final 39th place, the one who presented herself with the costume of European and world junior champion at 25 meters had just discovered the harsh reality of Olympism.
Five years later, and on the strength of a senior European champion title won in June, Mathilde Lamolle has done everything to not relive the same disillusionment: "
I work twice a month with a mental trainer, since 2016. After Rio, I understood that my technical background and my trainer would not be enough to go higher. However, I was looking for the exceptional. We work on concentration, attention, with visualization, mental imagery, a lot of breathing exercises. To be consistent at a very high level, I think it's essential.
And too bad for those who even a medal will not be enough to convince that shooting is indeed a sport.