Coaches often focus on what they can add to an athlete, but elite performance is often about removing barriers. If you can remove a limiting factor, you might unlock a new level of performance. This is the approach Jérome Simian used as strength and conditioning coach for the new decathlon world record holder Kevin Mayer. On this week’s podcast, Simian explains his approach to analyzing athletes, creating a plan, and improving performance. Read more
Tag Archive for: France
You can learn a lot about a country based on what others notice about your country. For example, someone from a flat place might first notice the mountains when visiting Switzerland. Often our house guests from Seattle first comment on the graffiti they see in Zurich. It is only natural that we notice what is different. I arrived in Nice on Sunday for the Jeux de la Francophonie and my chatty chauffeur from the airport talked about her own experiences visiting Switzerland. In Switzerland, she said, one thing stood out above all others: “the time is the time.” Perhaps she noticed this since the speciality here is definitely not organization. But unlike other places they can get away with that by providing such a warm and beautiful location on the French Riviera.
What is the Jeux de la Francophonie?
The Jeux de la Francophonie is my last major competition of the season. It takes place every four years and is often referred to in English as the Francophone Games, but that is a misnomer. Indeed this is a multi-sport event bringing together the 77 member and observing states of the L’organisation international de la Francophonie. But this is more than a sporting contest; it is also a cultural event. The hammer throw competition was held at the same time as the juggling semifinal today. There are also competitions in literature, photography and street art. Spikes Magazine has a primer on the event. The competition is also much broader than you think. Those 77 states include mostly french-speaking countries and former french colonies. However it also includes countries like Poland and Qatar that only have a loose connection to France or the French language. This means that the hammer field is top notch, including world champion Pawel Fajdek, the best French and Canadian throwers, and world junior record holder Ashraf Elseify of Qatar.
The Germans are famous for just combining many words together to make new ones. For instance, the word for hammer throw meet is ‘Hammerwurfmeeting.’ In France, it seems, they have the opposite approach. Rather than making one long word to describe something, they use every word to describe it. To provide an example, here are the names of the two French meets I competed at in the Lorraine region last weekend: ‘Meeting International Lacer du Marteau Mémorial Pierre Hue’ in Amnéville and the ‘Meeting international d’athlétisme Metz Moselle AthléLor’ in nearby Metz.
I wasn’t planning on competing for a fifth weekend in a row, but since training has been going very well I decided I might as well get in the ring again to see if I could improve my season’s best. I got an invitation to a pair of meets in eastern France, rented a car, and hit the road.
Tucked behind a hill and castle overlooking the city, the stadium was small but very intimate. Fans filled the stands and enjoyed the warm and sunny weather. Plus, we were able to throw both in the stadium and during the main portion of the meet. This is unheard of in the hammer throwing world. The meet was televised and they introduced us using the Fox Sunday Football theme music.