Biathlon: in legal conflict, Julia Simon and Justine Braisaz-Bouchet associated Wednesday

“We know very well that we are in an unprecedented situation”: the season has barely started, the affair between Julia Simon and Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, associated for the first time this winter in the women’s relay on Wednesday in Östersund ( Sweden), turns into a headache for the Blues. Since the revelation at the beginning of July of two complaints for bank card fraud targeting her, including one filed by Braisaz-Bouchet, Simon, not the type to open up – even when it’s smiling -, had put on a good face.

Julia Simon had filed a complaint against X for identity theft

Julia Simon had also attacked, firmly contesting the alleged facts, dating back to the summer of 2022, and in turn filing a complaint against X for identity theft. But the armor of the holder of the big crystal globe cracked on Sunday when she admitted to being “mentally exhausted”, without anyone really expecting it, just after the first individual race of the winter, completed outside the top 30.

“It seems weird to already say that I’m mentally blunted when it’s the first individual competition, but it’s the truth. It’s like that. You have to accept it, she said. I don’t I’m not going to cry, although…” “I’m not going to draw a picture for you, the summer was complicated, there’s pressure building up. It will, I think, be complicated all winter to hold on “, Simon projected.

Forced cohabitation between two spearheads of the Bleues

Faced with this forced cohabitation between the two spearheads of the Bleues, one outgoing world number 1, the other reigning Olympic champion of the mass start just returned from maternity, already without hooked atoms in their shared youth in Les Saisies, how to work? Beyond that, how can we operate a group that lives largely in isolation during the four months that the season lasts, from World Cup to World Cup?

“We know very well that we are in an unprecedented situation,” notes Cyril Burdet, who is in his second winter as coach of the Bleues. “We have been managing this for quite some time.” “Afterwards, we, internally, don’t talk about that every day. It’s sincere: we focus first on performance and on what we have to do to be good. We will find the solutions so that everyone is at their best level, that’s the challenge”, continues the technician, not worried “for the moment” about Simon’s hot confession and who is not considering any particular treatment for the moment.

“We make a good distinction” between sport and non-sport, he told AFP a few weeks ago. “Obviously we had to go through certain stages for everyone to hear this message. But today, I think the group has found a form of serenity.”

“Common interest”

“Everyone knows very well now that we are not dealing with a team of friends, on the other hand we have a real team of competitors, who are there first and foremost to express themselves fully in their sport and to be the most possible performances, explains Burdet. It’s up to us to use this emulation and this internal confrontation to get the best out of girls.”

Are its biathletes ready to play the team game in relays? “Yes, because we have common interests,” he says. “We work for a whole team, a staff, and also a whole nation, we represent France. You have to know how to overcome your personal problems and run for the well of all. I think they do it well.” “It’s a private matter, which has no place in the collective, nor in my sporting project,” says Braisaz-Bouchet. “And to answer simply, I’m not worried about this winter.”

“What I take away from all of this is that we have a team that has matured a lot, with girls who are very intelligent, very competitive, who have character, and that’s what makes it makes them formidable on the track”, Burdet wants to be positive. “It didn’t stop me from performing last winter, and I hope it won’t stop me this year,” Simon hoped at the beginning of November. Sunday’s introduction is not likely to reassure.

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