Arthur Bouchet: “We will have to break everything! »

He has a broken voice on the phone. “But I still haven’t melted,” he said with a smile. At the age of 22, Arthur Bouchet retains this sharp humor that allows him to support the disease, this spastic paraparesis that causes uncontrollable tremors and leaves him anemic after a severe crisis with the arrival of the Paralympic giant from Beijing.

With four medals, including three titles, the young Hero of the last Games is set to compete at the World Championships in Espot, Spain, where he hopes to add to his collection of twelve medals, including seven golds. It was discovered in 2017.

“After a roaring start to the season (six wins in six races), you recently lost at the World Cup in Veyssonnaz (3rd and 2nd in the giant)…
Together with the coaches, we were thinking about not going to this tour, which took place four days before we left for the World Championship. But still, I wanted to at least make a start. I got cold and went home to rest.

Does your body need it?
I admit that I’m having more and more mini crises. Although I still had a serious problem with my botox injections at the end of December, it was a little less severe than the Games. It was a little “sport”! I got a pretty violent response from my body. I was on my stomach, my abs were just flexing and I looked like a wriggling worm. A nurse had to catch me. It always takes me a while to find my feet after these injections and my footholds on skis are no longer what they used to be, I feel like I have to start from scratch a bit and I’m sorry, this ch. .. But medically I need this botox once a year, otherwise I can’t walk.

How do you feel today?
It’s all good, I’m just trying to beat my little virus before the long Worlds. It’s like a Games program with five races, six even, if you count in parallel. It’s going to be intense, but we’re prepared for it and we’re going to have to smash it out there!

Arthur Bouchet at the Paralympic Games in Beijing last March. (Naoki Nishimura/AFLO/Sports Press)

What’s left of your Beijing Games?
It was exhausting but absolutely insane in terms of emotions. It was magical. I always find it difficult to explain what I experienced there. I was asleep! And the dream did not stop at the Chinese border. On my way back, I was invited to events I never thought of. I’m thinking of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco, playing center stage at Roland Garros, the lottery draw… It’s just crazy, we’re having crazy experiences. I’m living my best life and that goes beyond sports. It’s still beautiful! I, little Grimaudois of Serre-Chevalier, did not think that I could achieve all this. I enjoy it 300%.

Was it hard to come back to life after your success in the Games?
Already at the age of 17, it was a perfect Games with four silver medals. I was able to say the same after Beijing and I hope to repeat myself after Cortina (2026). But, no, it was not difficult to continue. I love skiing, I love what I do. Apart from my profession, this is my passion. I still have that spark from my childhood. I feel the best on skis and I want to have fun. I liked it!

“I haven’t given up on the idea (of taking up competitive cycling), it’s still in the back of my mind. I will try to implement a double project. If not for the Paris Games, it will be for the next games.

Other Paralympic champions like Benjamin Daviet (Nordic) or Maxime Montaggioni (snowboard) had to land on the way back from Beijing…
Honestly, everyone told me I should sit down to breathe and digest, but I wanted to enjoy things that I would never be asked to do again. I lived life at 1,000 per hour for a month before returning to skis in June. Of course, at this time of year, I’d rather be in flip-flops in Grimaud than on a glacier at 3,000m with my feet in ski boots. But there’s always something to remind you why you’re here. That said, I took time to decompress at the same time, stopping three times in five days, including a trip to Montreal, where my mother was. I made the most of this holiday. It got to the point where two hours after landing I was doing physical training on the bike, and four hours later I was under the weight bar. I didn’t even feel jetlag, I fell asleep as soon as I went to bed at night!

You mention the bike. Have you seriously considered giving it a try?
I haven’t given up on this idea, it’s still running through my mind. I will try to implement a double project. If not for the Paris Games, it will be for the next games. Time flies and skiing remains a priority for me! But I took part in the Tour stage and put myself down. I was crying in Alpe d’Huez, it was very difficult. Up until the Col du Galibier, I knew everything at home by heart. But it only corresponded to twenty terminals out of 170. I was smoked by a lot of people but I finished it and I’m happy because I wasn’t sober. Well, it took me nine and a half hours. But I beat my coach, Benjamin Ruer, who had a few kilometers less on his legs.

“One of my dreams would be to share the podium with children. We wish for a hat-trick with Jordan (Broizin) and Oscar (Burnham)It seems possible to me in technical subjects.

What have you changed in your preparation this year?
I already have one foot on the bike because I would like to try to participate in the first World Cup in Belgium at the beginning of May, where I will also qualify. As for skiing, we started again with new coaches. Starting over with new people is never easy. Someone like Benj (Benjamin Ruer) I miss the same for our technician Edouard who took a big chance. After that, coincidentally, the new lineup looks a lot like the old one, and it goes really well. I always feel good in this team. Thomas (Frey, head of the French disabled team) great, super funny. But he knows how to be very serious when it is necessary, and besides, the whole team achieved very good results at the beginning of the season. We didn’t prepare our diesel, we directly hit our fists on the table: here we are! In Veysonnaz it worked less for me, but Aurélie (Richard) won the first World Cups, Lou (Braz-Dagand) and Jordan (Broizin) they got their first podium… Everyone who has tasted it will want to come back. This virus has not left me since I caught it. One of my dreams would be to share the podium with children. We wish Jordan and Oscar a hat trick (Burnham), seems possible to me in technical subjects. We tell ourselves that by healing Thomas, who scored a hat trick at the Sochi Olympics, and the technicians who formed the skicross team. (Jean-Frédéric Chapuis, Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonathan Midol), perhaps a sign. »

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