France’s youngster and Junior World Championship bronze medallist Laurent Muhlethaler was one of the big surprises of this Summer Grand Prix, when a six place in Tschagguns/Partenen had him take part in a prize giving ceremony on the highest level of the sport for the first time. In TUESDAY TALK, he speaks about this experience, the benefit of having Jason Lamy Chappuis back on the team and his recent retreat to Morocco.
Laurent, you turned heads during the Summer Grand Prix when you ended up on a formidable sixth place in the competition in Tschagguns. How much of a motivation boost is this first top result for your?
Laurent Muhlethaler: I did not expect to be sixth in Tschagguns. This result is very encouraging for me and I’d like to relive it again as soon as possible.
We’ve seen that you followed up a good Summer Grand Prix with a week of relaxation at Morocco. Tell us a little bit about your holiday!
Muhlethaler: Yes, indeed I left for a week in Morocco. It was great to be able to discover a new culture and to see other people. The Moroccans are very welcoming. I went up Mount Toubkal. It is the highest peak in North Africa (4167m). Otherwise I ate a lot of couscous, I took advantage of the pool and I walked in the souk.
You also had a successful moment last winter, when claiming the bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in Park City. How important is the attached personalised start right for the World Cup this winter for you?
Muhlethaler: It is true that this medal allows me to go directly to the World Cup and start there on a consistent basis. It is very important for me to get experience in the World Cup because it allows me to believe in and work on getting to the Olympic Games. It has been been my dream since I was little.
With the comeback of French superstar Jason Lamy Chappuis, the French team might face a lot more attention than lately. Would you say, you also benefit from having him and his experience back on the team?
Muhlethaler: It's great that Jason is back in the competition. It allows me to share his knowledge and he helps me to be more professional and grow faster. I think the French team can be on the Olympic podium in teams. This of course makes everybody want to be part of the team at the Olympic Games. (laughs)
Will we see you at the upcoming Summer Grand Prix Finals in Planica?
Muhlethaler: Yes, I will be in Planica. I hope to be able to continue on the same level as at the end of August.
How will you spend your time until the season start?
Muhlethaler: We went to Kandersteg in Switzerland and in late October, we will travel to the south of France. I hope that we can ski in Premanon at the beginning of November and then we will go up to Scandinavia for a last stage before Kuusamo.