"Defending our medal has been in our heads since Fiemme!"
TUESDAY TALK: Francois Braud (FRA)
At the end of last season, France's Francois Braud was finally able to enter his name into the book of Nordic Combined World Cup podium athletes. For TUESDAY TALK, the 27-year-old recaps the Olympic Games in Sochi and his triumph in Oslo from his perspective, speaks about his plans for the summer and Falun 2015 and tries to explain why he's always that good on Norwegian hills.
What have you been up to since the season ended?
Francois Braud: Right after my season, I directly went on holiday. I stayed in Guadeloupe for two weeks to relax.
Last season, you finally earned the first individual podium of your career at Holmenkollen, Norway. How big of a relief was this for you, also considering that the season with for example the Olympics did not go so well for you and the French team?
Braud: Yes, Olympic Games were not like we hoped for our team. We hoped to fight for a medal in the team event but unfortunately it didn't work out. We were too far behind already after the jumping part. I was actually quite satisfied with myself individually because I was in a really good shape in cross-country. My jumps were just a little bit to short to be in the first positions of the race.
After the Olympic Games my shape got better and better and in Oslo I had a really good jump and got my first podium. It was one of my goals of the season that I was finally able to reach, so I can say that my season was good. Especially at the end.
You won the ski jumping rounds at two of the Norwegian venues, Lillehammer and Oslo. Do you especially like Norwegian hills? And what was different at Granaasen, the hill in Trondheim, where you did not jump so well?
Braud: I don’t know why but Norwegian hills are always good for me. I like this country, I like the places, the spirit, so I'm feeling at home there. I also like Granaasen. I will be good there next year! (laughs)
What are your goals for the upcoming summer and winter?
Braud: My goals for summer are to do some good training and progress in both parts, in jumping and cross country. I would like to find a stable good shape and perform well in the Summer Grand Prix, similar to how I finished my season. For the winter, I would like to collect some more podiums and medals in Falun at the World Championships.
Speaking of Falun, next year you will have to defend your team gold at the World Championships. Are you looking forward to the event? Did you like the venue at the test events this year?
Braud: Yes sure, we have a title to defend and we will give everything for that. It has been in our heads since Val di Fiemme. I like Falun, it's just the wind that can be quite strong. This year in Falun, I did my best time in the cross country, the profile of the track is perfect for me. That's definitely already a good thing.
What will be on schedule next for the French team? Which training camps are coming up?
Braud: We started with our first training camp last week in Premanon, had some meetings regarding the organization of things and for sure started jumping. We have two young guys who join us on the team (Hugo Buffard and Théo Hannon) so I'm happy. The more, the merrier, as they say! (laughs)