French skier Alexis Pinturault won in front of his home crowd during the combined event of the 2023 Worlds after several months without convincing results. A title he describes as “unexpected” for those who have experienced a long air gap and a difficult start to the season.
Journalist : What flavor does this title of world champion have?
Alexis Pinturault : “It’s quite incredible, especially since it was not necessarily expected. I necessarily had the desire, the motivation to give the best of myself for this event. But it was necessary to be as realistic: I make a beginning of the season where I hang a single podium, I am regularly in the first six, seven but never on “the box” (the podium). So to be able to seek a gold medal, it was unexpected. Especially given the of the last two slaloms, which were Schladming and Kitzbühel, where I couldn’t take the qualification in the second run.
Maybe my start to the season helped: if I arrive and I’m one of the favourites, a lot is automatically expected of me and that’s normal. There, I arrive in a situation where I did not do much. So maybe it’s easier, in a way.”
Journalist : What difference is there on an emotional level between this world title and that of 2019, in the combined of Are (Sweden)?
Alexis Pinturault : “Just this medal will put the medals of the other World Championships completely in the background. If we talk about victory, of a single event, we can say that it is the most beautiful of my career. It is full stories: I win in France, and even more, in my station, so it adds an extra soul.”
Journalist : How did you manage to bounce back after your bad seasons?
Alexis Pinturault : “I think that I really want to take advantage of this fortnight in front of this public, in my station, in front of my family and my friends. It was the most important thing: to be able to take advantage of this atmosphere, this chance. I know only one world championship in my village, I will only live one. It’s a chance that is not given to many athletes, but it is given to me, so I wanted to surf there -above.”
Journalist : Last year, you hit rock bottom. What did it bring you for today?
Alexis Pinturault : “Last year allowed me to ask myself the right questions, to know if I wanted to continue. If I’m still here, it’s because I still had the motivation. allowed me to go deep inside myself, to find out what I wanted, and then I had to put it all back in shape. All this experience allowed me to learn what I am capable of, that this what happens on the classic circuit, you have to put it aside when you arrive in these big events.
Journalist : Do you think you served as a springboard for the France team?
Alexis Pinturault : “It’s a good start. I know what it’s like to arrive in the second week when there are no medals. Automatically there is a little more pressure, a form of anxiety , whether in coaches, in the media, in athletes, we are beginning to perceive it. It can be good for everyone.”