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Yannick Borel: "Nothing will distract me from my goal of being Olympic champion"


Already crowned by teams in Rio five years ago, the French swordsman aims both to keep his title, but also, and above all, to win the individual title that his exceptional career deserves.

Yannick, you will have waited a long time for these Tokyo Games…

Yannick Borel:

(smile) Yes, finally they are coming!

It is good news that they have been maintained.

This is my third Games, and they are totally different from any I have experienced.

On the other hand, the objective remains the same: to bring back two medals, one in individual and the other by teams, of the most beautiful metal possible.

To discover

  • The Olympic medal table

  • LIVE - Watch the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Do you have any certainty about your level, given the almost total absence of competitions for a year in your discipline?

The only certainties I have will concern me.

I would know what my feelings are in attack, in defense.

As I was preparing, I felt that things were getting better and better, that everything was getting back into place.

And I hope that in these Games, I will be at the level I want to be.

Afterwards, concerning the level of my opponents, there is indeed the greatest vagueness because I do not know anything about what they did, and I have no benchmarks in competition.

So my approach is simple: I am focused on myself.

This whole period was hard to go through, but it hardened me.

Yannick Borel

You had experienced some physical problems after Rio.

Could this extra year, linked to the postponement, have been beneficial to you?

In relation to that, I was indeed able to put in place protocols to protect myself from injuries that I had already had, especially in the back. Yes, it allowed me to apply them well. Today, before each workout, I do specific warm-ups, which allow me to no longer feel the same pain as before. So to answer your question, yes, I'm probably more ready today than I was a year ago. Mainly on the mental level where I feel armored for a lot of things. This whole period was hard to go through, but it hardened me. I know that today, even if all the health protocol and the absence of the public are boring to live with, nothing will distract me from my goal of being an Olympic champion.

Read also: The Tokyo 2020 medal table

Read also: The full Tokyo 2020 program

You talk about hard times to live.

Have you had moments of giving up during this past year?


I had an official competition in 18 months, it's very complicated to manage.

I do this sport because I like it, and also because I like competition, the duel.

This is the very essence of fencing.

I'm not going to practice putting sword blows in a wall (laughs).

Competition sets the pace, and the more you do, the better you are.

Not having had one will mean that we will all be less tuned in to these Games.

But there is no reason for me to complain more than anyone else.

How do you explain this unique competition in 18 months, when other sports such as tennis have resumed an almost normal rhythm for several months?

I think that the International Federation probably lacked a little courage to organize itself and put in place protocols, which would have accustomed us to what awaits us in Tokyo.

I would have liked them to make decisions at a time, even if it means limiting the number of participants per country.

It would have been nice.

Be careful, I won't be nobody's daddy!

Yannick Borel

What do you have left of Rio?

A nice medal (laughs). An experience that also serves me well. Just as it had been in London. These two Olympic experiences have built me ​​as a man and an athlete. They allowed me to avoid falling into certain traps and winning certain titles. I hope that what I experienced in Rio will serve me here, for me personally but also by sharing it with my teammates who will experience all their first Games.

Do you like this role within the team?

Be careful, I won't be nobody's daddy!

(laughs) I would be more of a guide.

In my weapon, I am the only one who has already made plays, but I will not position myself above them.

I have nothing to teach them about fencing.

I can just share my experience with them, my feelings.

I will do my best to bring them what I know if they have any questions or doubts.

Even if, as I said at the beginning, I do not believe that these Games will be of the same content as those that I experienced.

Suddenly, I will undoubtedly discover things with them too (smile).

Are you worried that these Games will be less magical than the ones you have known?

Yes, that will take away some of the magic for sure. Especially the fact that there is no audience, and therefore not our families. I had a lot of my relatives who had planned to come and had to cancel. Not all of them have been reimbursed by the way, if someone reads me (laughs). The atmosphere will also be different. I remember meeting Bolt, Nadal or Djokovic at the Olympic Village in Rio. Here, it will still be possible but more complicated to exchange or just take a photo. If we are each on our side, it will not be the same in terms of sharing. Now, on the other hand, you know, as soon as I see the Olympic rings, I start to vibrate. I vibrate on TV, I vibrate when I'm on the track, I vibrate at home in front of my poster of the rings. Nothing will prevent me from vibrating in Tokyo.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2021-07-24

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