Gauthier de Tessieres - From wild card to a World Championships Medal
It’s doesn’t happen every day for an athlete to be invited to join his team at the biggest event of the season only four days before you are supposed to start, but it happens even more rarely that four days later that same athlete is standing on the podium with a World Championships medal around his neck. Well, that’s exactly what happened to French skier Gauthier de Tessieres earlier this year at Schladming 2013 super G race.
With 116 World Cup starts since his debut in the Val d’Isere giant slalom in 2001, de Tessieres has stood on the podium only once, making it into third place in the 2008 Val d’Isere giant slalom.
De Tessieres made the French team in four previous World Championships (Bormio, Are, Val d’ Isere and Garmisch-Partnkirchen) but his lack in consistency during the 2012/13 season made him miss the cut for the Schladming team… or at least that what it looked like until just days prior to the race! The rest, is now history!
Q: You arrived to Schladming as a 'wild card' and left with a shiny medal around your neck - could you have imagined things developing the way they did?
GdT: Of course not! First, I really wanted to do this race because it was perfect for my profile. I thought it was not fair to not be selected and I was very close to deciding to quit altogether. At that moment I was not in good shape in giant slalom, but I was feeling good in super-G. Then, the big surprise – the recruiter called me four days before the race because Johan (Clarey) was not able to race. When I arrived in Schaldming I had no time to prepare myself. That was a weird situation but I knew I could ski well and something big could happen. In the start house I just yelled so loud (like a beast) and gave it all I had… that’s how my dream became reality.
Q: A few months have passed since then and emotions settled down a little, but what will you remember the most from that day? Any lessons learned?
GdT: I remember this amazing energy inside of me, that’s what helped me get this medal. The main lesson I guess is to "never give up" and the second would be that was even if sometimes you don't have the perfect physical or technical preparation your mental strength can push you really far, make you stronger than you can imagine.
Q: When the season ended, were you able to get a break and go on vacation?
GdT: First I wanted to share the medal with all my people, all my sponsors who supported me for so many years. I wanted to share it with all the kids who dream to do what I did. Then I decided to go to the Bahamas with my girlfriend, I stopped to think about my sport and really rest before the training for the new season.
Q:What's the plan for the rest of the summer? Skiing on the glaciers in Europe or there are plans to head to the Southern hemisphere as well?
Gdt: The plan is t ski two weeks in Zermatt, then I plan on taking 10 days off in the South of France and enjoy some time at the Mediterranean Sea. Then, we move south and will train for a month in Argentina and Chile.
Q: The French team has built over the years a really strong speed team, how important is to be training in such a competitive environment and with teammates that strong?
Gdt: When I arrived to the speed team three years ago I wasn`t skiing so well and this team helped me to learn the real speed technics and find a good balance. The team doesn’t really have a special leader. We are all good athletes and everyone brings their own stone to build the group. Adrien (Theaux), David (Poisson) and Johan (Clarey) have a lot of experience and they're happy to share a lot in training. I know that at every training I will have them as my best reference and if I can beat them; that means I'm in a really good shape.
by Ana Jelusic