(L to R) Adrien Backscheider, Clément Parisse, Maurice Manificat and Jean-Marc Gaillard happy in bronze on the 4×10 km cross-country ski relay in Pyeongchang on February 18, 2018
A feat, four years after the feat: the French cross-country team, led by its leader Maurice Manificat, reissued the performance of Sochi-2014, winning a new bronze medal at the JO-2018 relay 4x10km , Sunday in Pyeongchang.
We had left „Momo“ Manificat, the best blue skier, crying Friday, a legitimate disappointment that had moved the whole of France, after his 5th place on the 15-kilometer freestyle, succeeding himself to a first 5th place in skiathlon Few days ago.
„We took + a good pie + Friday, we went out on Friday evening to have a drink with the whole team, because the disappointment was huge and we had really bet on the performance of Maurice at the individual“, explained the national coach, François Faivre.
Sunday at the northern site of Alpensia, her tears of sadness turned into a huge smile. He went for the bronze medal, with his teammates Jean-Marc Gaillard the most experienced (37), and the young guard Clément Parisse (24) and Adrien Backscheider (25).
„I emptied so much on Friday that there was nothing to cry anymore, it made me feel good this morning,“ slid „Momo“ after the race.
Favorite Norway took gold, ahead of Russia under Olympic banner.
-Club League 2′-
Adrien Backscheider prepares to cross the finish line of the 4×10 km cross-country ski relay in Pyeongchang on February 18, 2018
„We are a small Ligue 2 club and we played against PSG, Norway is PSG and we put one or two goals in. Even if they won the match, we were there, we had skied with them, we made them doubt, „added Faivre, mastering the art of metaphor wonderfully.
Four years ago, it was an unprecedented achievement by the Blues, taking third place behind Sweden and Russia, and relegating the Norwegians off the podium, for the first medal of the French team bottom under the Rings. – and the second all.
They had a moment even recovered the money after the decommissioning of Russia by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after the vast scandal of doping in Russian sport sanction canceled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Four years later, only Manificat and Gaillard remain as heroes of the Sochi campaign, Parisse and Backscheider taking the places of Robin Duvillard and Ivan Perrillat-Boiteux.
Sunday, the Blues have mastered their subject. With the two former Gaillard and Manificat (31 years) launched in classic style and sticky to the best specialists of the effort. Sweden and Finland, major nations of the Nordic, have failed to follow. Two candidates for the podium quickly forgotten.
Then the two took over, Parisse accompanying the Olympic skiathlon champion, the Norwegian Simen Hegstad Krüger to return on the heels of the team of Olympic athletes of Russia.
– Norwegian doubled –
In the last lap, Backscheider tried to keep pace with the two best founders of the moment, Norway’s Johannes Klaebo (Olympic sprint champion) and Russian Olympic champion Denis Spitsov (15 km bronze medalist).
It was finally Klaebo who took the best in the last two kilometers, to give his country the double men-women in this event and a title that had eluded him since 2002.
The level was therefore slightly too high for the Vosgien. But the essential was elsewhere, the hole of one minute on Finland was enough to guarantee a new charm in bronze.
This collective medal mitigates the frustration of Manificat to have failed, to four seconds, to bring back the second Olympic podium of the French team of cross country skiing, after Roddy Darragon in 2006 (money in the sprint).
It rewards a full season of the native of Sallanches (a victory and two podiums), as well as the entire collective France, especially during these Games in Pyeongchang.