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The measure of a coach is not the extraordinary success of one of his "students" but the proportion of them who manage to reach a higher level under his tutelage, regardless of their initial level.
Although not all stories can be shared, I'd like to present a few of those that are unfolding behind our walls, every day.
Thank you to the athletes for their hard work and energy. Thank you to the coaches for their trust, and to the parents who provided the inital environment that fostered their children's athletic development.
Mélina, now 35 years old, is the leading French track & field female athlete. She is special to me as we have been collaborating, along with her coach Serge Debié, since 1998. During these years she's built an impressive career:
- Olympic silver medal in Rio 2016
- European championship silver medal in Zurich 2014
- World championship silver medal in Moscow 2013, with a national record (66.28m)
- World championship Bronze medal in London 2017
- 15 times national champion
- 3 times winner of the European Team Championships, discus
- 2001 U23 European champion
She has been on the podium over 15 times with the national team.
Beyond medals and titles it has been a great pleasure and privilege to witness her growth from a young athlete into a true champion over the course of now 20 years.
Mélina Robert Michon
Alexandra did not really know what to expect as she was sitting in my office with her father. "Walter told me : go see Jerome in Lyon!" she said. Walter Ciofani, her coach, had asked me to help him with her preparation a few weeks earlier as she had just established a new U23 national record in the hammer with 71.45m throw.
Alexandra religiously did all the exercises I gave her, even though the training was of a very different kind from what she was used too. Her technique being strong, improvement in her physical skills quickly transferred to her throws. She finished the season with throws of 74.39m and 74.02m at the World Championships in Beijing, thereby winning a bronze medal! Earlier ,in July, she had won the U23 European title. She was also voted 2015 France's track and field female athlete of year.
A promising decathlete, and already youth and junior world champion, Kevin was sent by his coach Bertrand Valcin following a string of nagging injuries. Our first year working together resulted in a personal best (8461) and a silver medal in the European Championships in Zurich 2014. since then his resumé looks like this:
- World Record holder Talence 2018 with 9126
- World Champion London 2017
- Indoor World heptathlon champion 2018
- European heptathlon record holder
- Indoor European heptathlon champion 2017
- Olympic silver medalist Rio 2016
- European silver in Zurich 2014
He has also been named European athlete of the year in 2018, French athlete of the year in 2017.
Gary started training with me at the age of 15. He was then a young golfer with a good touch but severely lacking in distance. Armed with a determination rarely seen in such a young man, he trained really hard and very consistently. While not one of the tallest in the golf world, his strong driving skills and his passion more than make up for it. He is now a professional golfer on the European Tour and won his first victory in Abu Dhabi in front of the world's number one Rory McIlroy. The kid from Villette d'Anthon made his dream come true.
In Rome in 2013, on our way to the airport back from the Diamond League meet, Mélina started a conversation with Romain about his injury troubles. European Champion in the decathlon in 2010, he had been sidelined since 2011 by osteitis pubis so severe that normal life was painful and training was out of the question. Thus started a very rigorous program and more than a few trips to Lyon for Romain. The road back was intense and difficult. He progressed enough to start a decathlon a year later but unfortunately could not finish it. Finally the winter of 2015 saw him complete a good heptathlon and two decathlons, scoring over 8000 points in each. His returning to the highest level of competition is a major success in itself!
Patrice and Marie France were sent to me by a friend we had in common in Montreal: Marie was suffering from a tendonitis that would not go away. 'Patch et Marie' ended up trainng with me for five years. I had the privilege to see this exceptional couple win world silver twice, multiple Canadian championships, Grand Prix, and Intercontinental Championships. They taught me a lot through how they embraced change in their lives in order to go from being ranked 10th in the world to second in a frame of time unseen in this sport so far. Today's specialists all agree that even though they were never awarded world gold, they changed their sport with their innovating lifts and unparalleled chemistry. They greatly influenced the next generation of skaters such as Scott-Virtue and Moir, Olympic and World Champions. Today they are very successful coaches, building the strongest team of ice dancers in the world.
Marie France Dubreuil et Patrice Lauzon
Lukas is a javelin thrower, coached by his father, Fred Moutarde, a former javelin thrower himself. In 2014 he improved from 69,02m to 74,48m which resulted in his winning the gold at the youth Olympics in Nankin. His story is just beginning, as he is still quite young, but is already exciting: in 2015 he threw over his PB, further than 75m.
In 2000 it was decided that the skeleton would once again be an Olympic sport for the 2002 Games. That was also when Philippe chose to come and work with me. By lowering his push time, he was able to capitalize on his good sliding skills and improved his World Cup ranking from 23rd to 12th. He won his first World Cup medal in La Plagne and thus qualified for his first Olympics, where he placed XXXX. After the Games he spent a couple of years far from Lyon, but called me again right before the 2006 Turin Olympics to help him qualify as back pain was hampering him. The story repeats itself with his world cup ranking improving by about ten spots and with him qualifying for the Olympics a second time, and placing XXX.
Angelina competes in IPC track and Field as a sprinter and a long jumper. Since training with synaptic Athletics she has not only graced our facilities with her great smile and "mostly" good mood :) but also acquired some serious hardware:
- European Gold in the 200m and the long jump in Berlin 2018
- European bronze with the relays in Berlin 2018
- World bronze medal in the long jump in London 2017
- 4th place in long jump and 5th place in 200m at the Olympic games 2016 in Rio
- 3 European Bronze 2016 100m, 200m and long jump