After equaling his medal record (15) in the Winter Olympics four years ago in Pyeongchang, can France do better in Beijing (4-20 February)? With Pinturault, Worley, Laffont, Fillon Maillet, Jacquelin or the Papadakis-Cizeron duo, the Blues can aim for several titles.
The assets of the Blues are numerous and efficient enough to hope for a record medals at the Winter Olympic Games 2022, which take place from 4 to 20 February in Beijing. In 1998, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the tricolor delegation had equaled its total record (16), but obtained a better record with five gold medals against during the previous JO.
For this year, the sports data provider Gracenote is counting on 20 podiums for France, but only two coronations. Still, on the 88 athletes competing in Beijing, the chances of gold medals are even more numerous.
· Biathlon: “QFM” and Jacquelin, duel in sight
It is now the flagship discipline for France at the Winter Olympics, second provider of medals with a total of 20 (against 41 in alpine skiing). For its first Games without Martin Fourcade, five-time Olympic champion who ended his career in 1998, the tricolor biathlon can do strong: there are tests in the program, and the Blues can each time get on the podium.
Leader of the general classification of the World Cup, Quentin Fillon Maillet signed five victories this winter, including four in pursuit. Pursuit is also the favorite exercise of Émilien Jacquelin, double world champion in title of the specialty and 2nd of the general of the World Cup.
The women’s team is not left out with 15 podiums thanks to Justine Braisaz-Bouchet , Julia Simon, Anaïs Bescond, Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet and the relay.
Alpine skiing: Pinturault, Faivre, Worley…
Alexis Pinturault is the undisputed leader of the French team, but the winter following his in the world, a first for a Frenchman since 1997, did not go as he had hoped. Far from there. He is dropped by the Swiss phenomenon Marco Odermatt in the general classification of the World Cup.
Olympic gold is the only title missing from his list and he will have four opportunities – not counting the team event – to repair this anomaly: February 8 with the Super-G, the 11 February with the combined, three days later in giant where he will have among his rivals his compatriot Mathieu Faivre, reigning world champion in the specialty, and the 15 February in slalom with another Frenchman, Clément Noël, who can upset him.
Other chances of medals, the indestructible Johan Clarey, 2nd at 25 years of one of the two mythical descents of Kitzbühel, or even the double world champion and Tessa Worley, in Olympic form in giant slalom with tro is podiums, including a victory, in January. The French flag bearer competes in Beijing for its last Olympic Games. “The idea, in Beijing, is to have no regrets, not to be a spectator of your race. This is perhaps what I missed in the last editions. I missed a little I want to be an actress in these Games”, she confided in December to RMC Sport .
Freestyle skiing: Laffont headlining
Olympic champion and reigning world champion in mogul skiing, Perrine Laffont is eagerly awaited at Beijing. Especially since it can ideally launch the fortnight of the Blues: it will be in contention from February 6. Despite a big fright with a fall and a concussion in December in L’Alpe d’Huez, the young woman from 20 years old is in good shape, with six podiums, including three victories.
Terence Tchiknavorian and Bastien Midol, respectively world n°2 and n°3 in ski cross , Tess Ledeux and Antoine Adelisse in slopestyle and big air or the flag bearer Kevin Rolland in half-pipe can also contribute to the tricolor harvest.
· Cross-country skiing: the expected male relay
As in 1998 where the French team had won two medals (3rd in the relay and the team sprint), it will take on the male collective with Maurice Manificat in the lead.
· Figure skating: finally gold for Papadakis-Cizeron?
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are not targeting nothing but the Olympic title in ice dancing. The vice-Olympic champions 1998, quadruple world champions and five-time European champions stayed more than 1997 days without skating in competition between January 2020 and early October 2021. Their return to competition swept away their doubts, if they had any, with three victories in as many competitions.