Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thierry Gueorgiou: "We can always learn something with anyone"




Thierry Gueorgiou is in Portugal preparing himself for the coming challenges and the Portuguese Orienteering Blog went to meet him. After a frustrating season, the French athlete bets on "turning it up" and points out the major goals for 2012.


The first days of the year you are spending them in Portugal. How are things going?

Thierry Gueorgiou (T. G.) - Since the end of 2012 I'm training in Portugal and I will stay here for a period of 20 days. My "map" covers several areas, from the sandy terrains along the coast of Figueira da Foz, the mountais of the last Portugal O' Meeting, in Viseu, and also a few days in the Alto Alentejo. So far, everything is going fine and for the first time after my fatigue fracture, I am able to train regularly 30 hours a week.

In the beginning of the season, how do you manage your trainings? Is it more the technical way or you dedicate mainly to the physical aspects?

T. G. - I have always considered that, as an orienteer, my main goal should lie in improving my technique and that is my priority all the time. I felt a little frustrated seeing so much snow in Sweden and therefore took the direction of Southern Europe to continue to work on my technique. Initially, I had planned to stay one week per month in the South, but finally I end up staying for three weeks, at least in January and February, trying to escape the snow.

It was very interesting to see you in the photo of Miguel Reis e Silva [see HERE], after a night training. Do you want to tell me something about this training and your occasional companions?

T. G. - We did together a night course and a 2-men relay. It was a real pleasure to train with them and my trainings are always open to all enthusiasts of Orienteering. A month ago I trained in Alicante with Chris Terkelsen, Andreu Blanes, Antonio Martinez and others. This is particularly rewarding since I like to see how they prepare themselves, how they heating, how they focus. Although the Orienteering and the training methods may be too standardized nowadays, we can always note some interesting regional and cultural differences. And we can always learn something with anyone.

If we walk a year back, we see a Thierry Gueorgiou full of strength and confidence, preparing a season promising the greatest success. 2012 is a year to forget or a year to remember?

T. G. - The last year, my winter season was very good, perhaps one of the best ever. In terms of results, the beginning of the season was also really promising, but everything started to fall apart a few days before Tiomila, when I started feeling a pain in the tibia. Unfortunately, in this time of the season, it's always very difficult to slow down with the prospect of the important events approaching. The rest of the time was very frustrating, it seemed that I fought without my weapons. A season without a title of World Champion has always been seen by me as a failed season, but I always found in it, also, an incredible source of energy for the coming season. I fully share the view that "defeat is innovative, victory is conservative." We'll see if that is the case this season.

Speaking of athletes that marked 2012, we can see Simone Niggli and Matthias Kyburz, of course, but also names such as Edgars Bertuks and the youngsters Matt Ogden and Emily Kemp. How do you see this "mini-revolution" of the smaller countries?

T. G. - This is something really positive for our sport. Orienteering should grow up and globalize itself, and it's exciting to see new flags on the podium. It is worth saying, again, that the desire to achieve something and the attitude are more important than everything else, including the place where someone else lives.

Following a curious exercise by Jiri Danek, I dare myself to ask you who would be the entity (individual, club) worthy of "The Achievement of the Year 2012" if we would extend the contest to the entire universe of Orienteering and not only to the athletes?

T. G. - I'm not sure who would assign the prize, since there are many who certainly deserve it. Jan Prochazka, in the last leg of the Czech Relay at WOC, is perhaps one of the most deserving because, at that moment, he went beyond his own limits, transcending himself absolutely in the moment that really counted. However, finally, I give it to all cartographers worldwide who, alone in the forest, build the works of art that give us the greatest pleasure in practicing our sport.

You will end your stay in Portugal soon, but I know that you will return for the Portugal O' Meeting. What does this competition mean to you and what do you expect from this POM?

T. G. - The Portugal O 'Meeting will be my first competition of the year and this is always something very special. Maybe last year I was already in great shape by this time, too early I guess. This year I will try to be a little more patient and base my season better. But the Portugal O 'Meeting is one of my favorite events, I believe that the terrains this year will be very interesting, so I will try to do good performances.

What are the major goals of the season that starts now? Will this be your last season?

T. G. - I'll focus on the World Championships' Middle Distance and the O-Ringen. But there are also other events in which I will try to do my best. I don't know yet if this will be my last season. I really like this way of life and I know that it will be very hard to stop. Let's see!

Joaquim Margarido

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