In a new weekly series, we follow the sport of Nordic Combined around the world. We will check in with various sports journalists, online magazines, sports blogs, team sites and other online media covering the discipline. Each media outlet, be it big or small, gives an insight into “their” team and the situation before the Olympic winter of 2017/18 as well as into their own work and motivations.
Nordic Magazine - France
The return of Jason Lamy Chappuis is of course the big news concerning the French team for the next season. In its wake, the young athletes can still raise their level a notch.
The return to competition of Jason Lamy Chappuis is the biggest news of this season within the French Nordic Combined team. The Olympic and World Champion from Jura, freshly graduated from his airline pilot school in England, is facing a crazy challenge to return to the top before the PyeongChang Olympics.
This spring, he has joined his teammates for a cohesion course in the Ardèche, in the south of France with bike trips and rafting sessions ... Lamy Chappuis knows better than anyone that his return will not be simple. Although he has not gained any weight, he has lost muscle and some of his physical abilities since his retirement in 2015. He must also regain his feelings on the jumping hill. The small jumps of the Jura were his playground but before soon the set out to rediscover his “home hill” of Chaux-Neuve.
But Jason will not be the only French “attraction” in the upcoming winter. François Braud, the only French medalist of the last World Championships in Lahti, has evolved into a true team leader and with Maxime Laheurte, who experienced a more complicated and irregular season, Lamy Chappuis will meet well-known faces, who have matured into their own careers on the national team. The Olympic relay will clearly be the number one objective for head coach Jérôme Laheurte for the next season.
In 2015, the team of France lost Jason and Sébastien Lacroix, a double world champion in his own right. The following year has been difficult for the older athletes, who found themselves in the position team leader without really being able to assume it and with young athletes who had difficulties to make their marks just yet.
A year later, Antoine Gérard developed a nice surprise for the French team. 33rd in the world this season, the Vosgien showed a few big moves like in Chaux-Neuve, where he finished in the top 15. He is still young, he has a good margin of progression in ahead him and displays a very beautiful state of mind.
Today, he is accompanied by Laurent Muhlethaler. Another Jurassian of the team, Laurent impresses with his qualities as a jumper. As the winner of two Junior World Championship medals in the past winter, he continues to progress. There is no doubt that the presence of Jason Lamy Chappuis will motivate and lift the young athletes up further. This includes Hugo Buffard, who is incredibly fast on the track (he stood on a national 10 km skating podium this winter) but unfortunately very inconstant on the hill.
The other good news from the French side is the formation of a future-oriented group with Brice Ottonello, Théo Rochat, Mael Tyrode and Edgar Vallet. The combined youth make up a homogeneous and very interesting group for the Continental Cup. On the ladies side, France does not have any competitors able to match the new international circuit yet.
On the other hand, after the departure of the darling child and quintuple world champion Jason, the French media have (for now) turned their back on the Nordic Combined. Unlike in Germany, where the incredible fight between Johannes Rydzek and Eric Frenzel has kept millions of viewers busy, the French audiences, depending solely on Eurosport France, have lost colour. Worse, some jumping competitions were not broadcast at all and sometimes the 10 km was only offered offline. While the German dominance boosted the numbers for German TV, the audience in France stagnated.
Also here, the return of Jason, former flag-bearer of the team of France at the Games of Sochi 2014, could bring new light and attention to the French Nordic Combined team - provided that he is performing well. The Germans will not make it an easy task, that's for sure.
SOME WORDS ABOUT NORDIC MAGAZINE
Nordic magazine is a French language free high quality magazine dedicated to nordic culture in France and Switzerland. It's the leader in this domain as well as the national reference web site www.nordicmag.info.
Created by two journalists in Prémanon in December 2011, the magazine is distributed in France and Switzerland in October, December, February and June with a number 24 000 magazines each. Readers and fans of the nordic culture and nordic sports, who like Nordic Combined, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing and Ski Jumping, can find it in 160 points of distribution in the French mountains. We are distributed in sports-, outdoors- and nordic shops, as well as tourism offices in Jura, Alpes, Vosges, Pyrénées and some big towns like Paris, Grenoble and Lyon.
Today, Nordic magazine counts around ten journalists and guests writers like Robin Duvillard, Emmanuel Jonnier and Marie Dorin-Habert. Nordic magazine writes about nordic culture, nordic people, champions of different generations and about great nordic stories.