Our Let’s JO series, collateral victim of the coronavirus. “It’s a shame: the Olympics are just postponed, they are not canceled! I think people like to know the daily life of a top athlete. “ Here is the reaction of Pierre-Jean Vazel, trainer of the hammer thrower Quentin Bigot, when we told him the news. The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics has made the series obsolete. The aim was to chronicle, through monthly meetings, the pre-Olympic season of four champions: the fencer Ysaora Thibus, the pentathlete Marie Oteiza, the handball player Michaël Guigou and Quentin Bigot, vice world champion in throwing hammer. “The postponement of the Olympics is clear, I am disappointed, reacts to the phone from his Metz apartment, Pierre-Jean Vazel. But it was also the only thing to do in this situation. We could not have gone there under these conditions. The most difficult thing for a top athlete, who has been preparing for this deadline for a long time and who devotes himself to it body and soul, is to be in complete blur. We don’t know when we can get back on the road to the stadium, normalcy. ”
March 24, the date of the announcement of the postponement of the Olympic Games, was also a day of mourning for the duo Vazel-Bigot. “The same day it became known that one of the Spanish federal coaches whom we had encountered during our weekly training course in Sant Cugat, near Barcelona, had died from the coronavirus. He was almost 80 years old but he still threw the hammer. Then even within the club (Metz Métropole Athletics), we were touched. Our secretary is in the hospital, attached to a respirator “, relates, disappointed, Vazel. Chantal Simonet, 40 years in the service of sport in Metz, had been fighting for a few months against cancer, she had to go to the coronavirus.
Musk and hammers
In this gloomy atmosphere, Bigot’s coach tries as best he can to stay the course: “We’re trying to keep doing activity everyone at home for now, Quentin isn’t the worst off because we had anticipated this. It is necessary so as not to fall into depression. You have to be creative and supportive, you have to focus on the essentials. What makes us human and not sheep? These are our passions, what makes us laugh, it’s good, for example, to have humor on the virus, it gives us the necessary distance for our psychological and physical hygiene. Sport helps you go through the trials of life. During an FFA training we could meet the former jumper Robert Emmiyan (still holder of the European long jump record with 8.86m in 1987). He told us how his high level practice helped him get out of the drama at home in Armenia in 1988, during the earthquake in which he lost his family and property. “
Pierre-Jean Vazel and Quentin Bigot managed to organize themselves well before confinement thanks to the news they received from China. Their informant was their physiotherapist, a Portuguese who practiced for a long time in France and who now works in Shanghai: Fabio Martins. “Fabio had told us about the Chinese situation since his confinement in a sports center in Shanghai. He stayed there for six weeks without going out. So we understood that it was not a small flu “, says Vazel who, with his foal, has made arrangements: “In terms of equipment, Quentin had time to build a small weight room in his garage and bring home the hammers he normally stores at the stadium. On the psychological level, I started to tell him that the season would have taken a particular turn. We shouldn’t panic, just keep doing things as usual, keeping an eye on the window to see what could happen … “
Quentin Bigot should have played his first competitions in May, today there is no calendar: “At the end of August, we have the European championships in Paris. They have not yet been canceled… I see that the circuits of the meetings which include the hammer throw in their program begin to replace dates at the beginning of September: we will see. We will be ready anytime anywaysays the champion. We should also learn from what is happening to us. Asians do not put on a mask to look pretty; social distancing has a meaning, like temperature control. In France we were told that it was useless… Now there are pharmacies without thermometers or gel, not to mention masks. The Chinese regard us as extraterrestrials. We are able to take others high but not to organize collectively: it’s a shame! ”
Field and garage
Quentin Bigot is not in the habit of complaining, his course of action will not change even under confinement conditions: “We are at home, no problem, when there are a lot of people who have to go to the hospital for treatment.” Since the postponement of the Olympic Games, he has taken a few days of rest: “We will take the opportunity to make a week break. But before I continued as usual: we were well organized, indeed. In my garage I had installed a kind of weight room and to launch I used a land belonging to my grandparents. I installed a tray there a while ago to launch. As it is private, very close to my home, there is no problem getting there. In addition, the Federation had sent me a certificate, we are trying to limit the damage “, says Bigot, who shares the confinement with a promising young launcher: “We had to go on an internship in Germany with Enguerrand Decroix-Têtu, he came to my place to leave afterwards, but the day we left the government decided to confine, suddenly, here we are, sharing the sessions: in the morning, in the field to launch and in the afternoon, bodybuilding.“
Video and Instagram
Not everyone is equipped like Quentin Bigot to train at home and, while waiting to be able to regain possession of the stadium and the weight room, Pierre-Jean Vazel must also concoct training programs for his group of sprinters from Metz Athletics Metropolis. “Now that we can only do activities at home, it’s time for instagrammers!”. Coaches via social networks have the wind in their sails: exercises in the kitchen, in their living room, using furniture, sofa, bed, home trainer or rower for the wealthy. Otherwise, rolls of toilet paper and a broomstick. “Indeed, these coaches on social networks have already invented everything: you just have to be a little curious and see what they do”, emphasizes Vazel who takes the opportunity to plead in their favor: “Pro sports coaches look down on them, but many of these coaches are doing a good job, which is now available to everyone. ” Pierre-Jean Vazel is not limited to advising the Instagram accounts of others, he himself publishes on the club website videos with exercises to do at home. He also takes the opportunity to tell little-known or forgotten stories of athletics.