She arrived wrapped up in her tricolor down jacket. Still refrigerated five hours after the arrival, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet asks for a tea to try to warm up. His phone keeps ringing, the messages of congratulations pile up. “It’s weird. Usually, after the races, I like to go to my bed, eat pizza, and mess around with the team, she smiles. But here, I take advantage of it. It was still a beautiful day. Olympic champion, it does not happen every day! Calmly, the tears of the finish now dried, the Savoyard took the time to confide in this mass start of anthology.
Justine, how do you feel, a few hours after your coronation on the mass start?
“I still don’t realize what happened. I don’t realize that I won an Olympic race. I tended to desacralize this event because what I like is doing biathlon and being good at what I do. And that can happen in any context. Today, I was almost shocked at the finish. But I take this victory! (to smile) “
Did you feel this was going to be your day?
“I knew it was going to be a tough race and a real battle. But I wanted to run so badly. It was a deep and sincere desire that I had never felt so strongly. After the relay (6th), I immediately projected myself on this mass start. I thought that I had missed my chance to return to France with a medal but secretly, I still dreamed of putting one in my suitcases. At first, I just wanted to enjoy the Games, to rediscover the pleasure. That’s what I told my husband after my missed sprint (48th). I just wanted to do biathlon again as I like. »
What state of mind were you in when you took control of the race after the first standing shot?
“Coming out of the shooting range, I saw the empty track in front of me and a penalty ring filled with biathletes. There, I said to myself: ”Shit, I’m going to come out on top!” I really hadn’t calculated that, I was in my race. I finally go out with Marte Olsbu Roeiseland but I ignore all that. And at one point, the staff told me that I was twelve seconds ahead of the others. I do not believe it ! With my legs of fire, I had to take advantage of it. I arrived very calm and serene on the last shot. I repeated to myself: ”Live your thing and play your card thoroughly.” It’s surprising because in a context like that, I have known situations where I collapsed. »
What are you thinking about in this last lap?
“When I was told every ten meters that I was going to be an Olympic champion, it was a relief. I said to myself: ”Finally, my day has arrived”. I just take it. I like to win races. Even more at the end of a scenario that makes the salt of biathlon. This race allowed me to learn even more about myself. I always really believed in myself, without telling myself that I was the best, but only that I was capable. I knew that with that, one day, it was going to snap. »
When did you realize you were an Olympic champion?
“The first time I said it on arrival. It brought tears to my eyes. What touched me the most was meeting the staff, and particularly Jean-Paul Giachino, our shooting coach. I was very happy for him. It was probably his last race at the Olympics. So seeing him so moved, it touched me. »
Do you also realize that you are ending sixteen years of scarcity for the French women’s team?
“I am not at all in this mythology. Doing my sport is enough for me. I like to put on skis, take my rifle, it stops there. This victory is just an answer to my personal expectations. I’ve often been disappointed too, I know. I had missed a lot of opportunities to materialize. So, this one I take advantage of. »
Do you fear the whirlwind of a life changing after an Olympic title?
“No, because I think I know what I want. Even more so in life than in biathlon. I know that this grandiose and luminous side does not attract me. This title will not change anything. I want to stay the same. My life like this is enough for me, I don’t need anything more. I’m sure other champions will benefit from this light. On the other hand, I always have things to prove to myself, to prove to others. I really like this sport. It requires a lot of maturity, self-confidence. So maybe this gold medal will give me peace of mind. »