Monday, June 13, 2016

Thierry Gueorgiou: "I want to do equally well at each WOC start"

Thierry Gueorgiou decided to save all his energy for Strömstad where, in late August, will take place the World Orienteering Championships. This is the main subject of an interview with the great athlete, where he also speaks about the recent European Orienteering Championships and... Usain Bolt!

Training, training, training... We all know how much you love the competition, a hard fight, to be in the “eye of the storm”. Don't you feel the lack of a good race?

Thierry Gueorgiou (T. G.) - Actually, that was part of my plan – compete a little less in spring to save energy for later on. World Championships are much later this season compare to the previous years, and I am trying to peak my top shape for august. I'm at a time of my career where I should not spread myself too thin and spending too much time in quarantine is killing me (laughs). My plan at the moment is just to keep building up my experience on WOC-specific terrains.

The last one was the 10Mila. Would you like to share your thoughts about the race and the way Kalevan Rasti lost the chance to achieve the fifth winning in the past seven years?

T. G. - Well, as a team, we weren't the best one that night. We were all the time a bit behind and it is fair to say we were outclassed in several legs. Still, when I started my leg, our chances to succeed were pretty good. But I didn't fulfilled my mission neither. I had a chance but didn't felt strong enough to keep the required speed on the whole 16 kilometres of my course. Of course, the disappointment is always huge even with a podium placement, as we are one of those few teams which consider any other result than winning as a failure.

The European Championships are over and I believe you've followed it quite closely. What were, from your point of view, the two or three strongest moments of this EOC's edition?

T. G. - In fact, I wasn't following all EOC races very closely, as I was training in Halden at that time. Still, I could follow some of the races and I must say that the Czech organizers showed once more they are the best when it's about broadcasting a forest race. At the moment, I really enjoy following women's races, because there are lot of good stories behind all the top girls. But if I only have to keep one memory, it is Merja Rantanen's last kilometre of the relay – really impressive, and I was truly happy for my Finnish friends.

How do you rate the French team's performances?

T. G. - Well, the French team was a very unexperienced one this time, and some youngsters did pretty well even if it will takes some more years to see their names at the very top of the result list. I also enjoyed seeing Lucas Basset delivering another great Middle Distance race as it is always harder to establish yourself at the top than to get one peak performance. But for me, the highlight was, maybe, Frederic Tranchand’s Long Distance. I'm not sure there's anyone else capable of doing what he did that day. Losing four minutes in the first three controls, and thereafter climbing back from the 49th place to finish at the 8th place. His mental strength was an inspiration.

How do you feel right now?

T. G. - I feel like the shape is going toward the right direction, and there has been couple of very promising trainings lately. I'm longing to wear my racing suits again, which is surely a good sign.

Your only goal for the season it’s called WOC, which will take place in Strömstad, Sweden. Can you feel already some good vibrations about that?

T. G. - Of course, as it is the races I'm waiting the most. I've been training and spending lots of days in Bohuslän, and I've enjoyed all my stays there. Also, there is always a little extra, as I know perfectly well that I will sooner or later end of my elite career. I'm really trying to enjoy every moment.

What kind of event are you expecting?

T. G. - I'm really happy to compete on terrains which has mostly never been mapped before. It adds flavours, even though that laser maps already gave a good idea of the terrains. I am just hoping the “crossability” of the biggest cliffs will be perfectly mapped and the maps will give a fair picture of the terrains.

What are your main goals? Does your bet go to a particular distance?

T. G. - I'm preparing for the Middle, Long and Relay. All three will have a special taste, and I want to do equally well at each WOC start.

Who will be your main adversaries?

T. G. - Well, the biggest challenge might be to manage to get enough sleep before WOC, while watching Olympic Games in Rio with the time difference... It is more or less always the same challenge before a WOC, the key is to stay healthy and injury-free in the coming two months. Then, everything is possible!

Would you like to share with us your biggest dream?

T. G. - To score three goals in UEFA Euro 2016 final for France, or to beat Usain Bolt in Rio this summer, haven't yet decided…

Joaquim Margarido

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