It has been a year that we said, “Ok, we’ll talk again tomorrow”. Unfortunately, this became impossible. Even if the triathlon community knew how to honour your passing, rare where those who knew how much you wanted to change the triathlon world.
You had this definition of sport that I shared with you. This will of growing up and perpetually improve as a human being. Sport was your playground, an excuse to experience moments completely and be generous. Even if we often repeat it, this message always struggles to be heard…
To me, my new perpetual quest is to know what you would have thought about this or that. This became an obsession and I truly hope that I knew how to stay in the right path. Still today, you remain the most influent person in this project.
I continue to apply the “Lolo” rule every day. Accept to take up position on topics according to what I consider the fairest. We never liked status quo and the “unsaid”. You often said that it was our force, our paths crossed for this reason. I hope this is still true.
We need to cope with critics. You always said to me that an opinion, even if you don’t agree, this remains a right. Knowing the routine, you were always giving enough elements to allow others to learn with you. You never stayed silent waiting for a following good result.
Impossible to hide this from you, Rio OG were particularly hard to follow without you. Not only because this was impossible to have your vision, but also because it didn’t happen as you wanted. I’m sure you would have turned the page quickly. You would have started on a brand-new book, looking for another truth. Unfortunately, I have the feeling that without you, behaviours changed. Sincerity, generosity and engagement were your distinction and the only path you were taking. People weren’t realising but, about this, you weren’t only the French exception, but also a world reference for athletes of the ITU course. You knew how to gather different teams.
This whole year without you, I wondered if other athletes would have followed your steps. Because yes, you showed that it’s possible to make the learning process public. Dare to share experiences with sincerity and truth in joy and pain. We knew that sportive performances never defined somebody’s qualities.
Unfortunately, we have to face the truth. Your shoes are way too big for others. We always knew we were in a game of dependence with a power balance between athletes and a system (federation and sponsors). A logo with your initials is not enough.
You, you understood that blaming others was pointless. That dependence from a system is not a fatality is a choice. To own its own freedom, it’s necessary to set up actions to own its autonomy in order to become master of its project. All of this seems clear but it’s not…
During this Olympic year, we went back in the shadow. When a famous athlete release a picture of him during training, he breaks the internet. But what is the true impact of such a gesture if not attracting sponsors? What effect does this has on our young athletes?
Then, why turning towards written articles and take risks to develop? You knew that through your public sharing of feelings, you were helping yourself. You were forbidding yourself from some shortcuts. This exercise forced you to do this introspection process and give your fairest vision. Who else is able to be proud of such things?
Following sportive actuality, I constantly feel that reading words of an athlete, this is a translating exercise. You just need to be equipped with the right decoder.
Is the athlete really sincere or he just tries to preserve/build an image? Is abandon really caused by a physical trouble or this famous fear of not responding to requirements? Is underperformance really the result of a strategic mistake? Nothing that cannot be said.
Obviously, the follower probably doesn’t need to know everything, but the mistake is to dissociate the sportsmen from the human being.
This culture of secret keeps putting in the shadow the aspect of games in sports. The elite has to accept to lose and to win. Unfortunately, the athlete being sincere or not, it depends of the context.
As you said to me, coaching athletes is about finding balance between physiologic and moral stress. It’s important to adapt the speech depending on the athlete and make sure that he assimilates a certain culture. You knew how to show a joy just by being in the process. You enjoyed every single moment.
So, let’s be honest, I may have made a bit too much lately and amplified my attacks on a certain culture. It’s maybe just a matter of maturity.
By the end, I was just disappointed to see that your heritage didn’t have an immediate effect on others. As I have been important to star again from the beginning. We have to face the evidence, they don’t behave like you do. They are just different. So, I’m often afraid that your ideas may be lost.
Your guidelines, I haven’t forgotten them.