In Montpellier, in front of the thousands of spectators at the International Festival of Extreme Sports (FISE), Anthony Jeanjean, French BMX freestyle star, performs tricks while saving his pedal strokes.
Seventh in the last Tokyo Games, the 25-year-old rider returns to Montpellier as a regular to challenge his great rivals, the Australian Logan Martin, reigning Olympic champion, and the Japanese world champion Rim Nakamura. Everyone already has Paris-2024 in mind.
Q: You will necessarily play for the win in Montpellier and then at the Glasgow Worlds, but Paris-2024 remains your primary objective?
A: “It would be lying to say that I am not aiming for a world championship title and I want to win in Montpellier. But all my training, all my competitions are focused on Paris. We are lucky that the Games are in Paris and I fully intend to prepare for them in order to be able to experience them fully. For that, it’s good to have a certain fluidity, a certain rhythm in the preparation, whether it’s for Paris, Los Angeles in 2028 or even for all my career. It’s important to continue to experience this pressure, which you only find in competition. But it’s a complicated sport, where you can quickly go from first to fifth place. I’m trying to remain fair, realistic, and always positive. A small + counterpoint + can be a step towards a bigger success “.
Q: What are you betting on to beat your competitors?
A: “I do technical, aerial, impressive tricks. They say I’m very clean, very fluid. I don’t pedal a lot (between tricks), I keep speed. I know it really has an impact. Doing a figure is +easy+, we repeat it, we repeat it… While keeping a certain speed, a certain rhythm, is much more complicated. What also earns us a lot of points is to have our personal touch. When we ride, the judges say to themselves + This is Anthony Jeanjean, this is Logan Martin +”.
Q: Did freestyle BMX really become a mainstream sport after the Tokyo Olympics?
A: “In any case, we have passed a milestone. Here in Montpellier, there are a lot of people who come to see us, not necessarily people from the middle, not necessarily + riders +, but people who saw us at the television, especially at the Olympics. It’s a fairly simple format. We are judged on risk taking, technical level, height, amplitude, speed, use of the park, style, cleanliness, neatness, not make mistakes… It’s full of criteria, but, in the end, we are judged on the general aspect. And when the public sees a huge passage, that they react, in general, the note judges go with it. It’s still a great show, people see the differences in height, speed, number of laps. From one rider to another, the guys don’t do the same thing at all and the public reacts differently, even if he is not a specialist.”
Interview by Philippe SIUBERSKI
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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