Martin Fourcade says having fun is the key to having success in the biathlon in the Olympics.
Fourcade, who is France’s most decorated Winter Olympian with seven medals, including five golds, surprisingly retired from the sport in 2020 at the age of 31.
He says that athletes who make the most of their time at the Olympics, where there will be strict Covid-19 protocols, will be the ones who succeed.
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"I think it’s one of the big keys of the success in thinking about the Olympics," he told reporters.
"It is being able to forget the negative thoughts and to focus on the positive side. It’s what I tell all the French athletes who ask me before the games ‘how did I succeed at the Olympics?’ and I told them it’s all about the pleasure you take there.
"You will be far from your family, without your friends and fans. It will be a special situation in the team due to Covid-19 and there will be much more pressure from the media than usual, but the key for having a good performance is that you will be able to take distance from every bad situation and be able to take a lot of pleasure on the skis.
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"You remember that it is a key dream for most of the athletes and even when it’s difficult when you have trouble, even when the Olympics are not starting when you want and the weather is disturbing your shooting you need to be able to set up this good mood.
"It’s possible to have fun at the Olympics in spite of the pressures of Covid."
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One of Fourcade’s great rivals Tarjei Bo, currently ranked third in the world standings, will be competing in Beijing. The Norwegian picked up a silver in the men’s relay in Pyeongchang, but Fourcades believes he could spring an upset and win the individual event in China.
He added: "We had the chance to compete at our first Olympics together in Vancouver . He was an Olympic champion with the Norwegian team and he was already a brilliant athlete.
"He won the Overall World Cup in 2011 and then he had many more difficulties, but he was able to come back.
"For me Tarjei is not one of the favourites on the men’s side because it will be a four or five-person race. It’s between Emilien Jacquelin, Queintin Fillon Maillet, Boe Johannes Thinges and Sebastian Samuelsson.
"In my view Tarjei is the one who can create the surprise without being the surprise. I see Johannes Tarjei winning the individual."
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