A month ago, Johan Clarey, in his forties since January 8, could not yet boast of the title of dean of the French ski team. His colleague Julien Lizeroux, vice-world champion in slalom in 2009, looked at him for over a year. But the slalom rider has since erased his last gate and will follow the Cortina d’Ampezzo Worlds as a retiree and supporter of his giantist companion, Tessa Worley.
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Johan Clarey will therefore find himself alone on the track of the old French grognards of speed, since the other former, the descender Adrien Théaux, 36, who had had no results for a long time, did not have the honors of the selection. He fully assumes this role of commander with young people who sometimes need comfort in a specialty, super-G, where the danger is permanent. “I play the role of moderator, because I am no longer ready to take ill-considered risks, to ski with my head next to my body”, he said in the report which was devoted to him in the program “Stage 2”, Sunday February 7th.
He is considering retirement after the failed Sochi Games
Foufou in his youth, the Tignard accumulated over the years the accidents which deprived him of a more brilliant start to his career. In 2013, he was coming back from a series of injuries when he set the speed record in the race, flashed at 160.9 km / h on the Austrian downhill track of Wengen, before being seriously injured again a few days later. .
Transparent at the Sochi Games (2014), he even announced his retirement, at 34, a reasonable age to hang up the boards. But he changed his mind to the delight of the statisticians of the France team, since he has chained since his best results. All but a coincidence, because these performances were carried out in the wake of a sad event which had a lasting effect on the preparation of the French speed team: the death of David Poisson in training in November 2017.
In the process, it was necessary to digest, revise the protocols and embark on the slope of a traumatized collective. More calm than in his younger years, more fatalistic too, Johan Clarey found his best role and his best rankings there: the money of Are (Sweden) at the 2019 Worlds and this extraordinary second place in the World Cup on January 24. last, in Kitzbühel (Austria), on the Streiff, the main track of the descent.
A skier highly listened to by the authorities
A few days before the start, this skier, much listened to in the community, had obtained from the International Ski Federation the planing of a bump on the track following his spectacular fall in training, where he found himself catapulted to 140 km / h in the protective nets. “I had moaned, yes, because the last bump had caused falls and an injury in the hospital. We were therefore listened to ”, he explained after this feat. Which made him the first 40-year-old to step onto a World Cup podium, two years after becoming the oldest medalist at the world championship.
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“I find it difficult to realize this story of the first quadra, he said. I don’t know if that will be enough to enter the history of my sport, but at least I will have left a little mark. And it’s not over. Why not continue, even at 41? This season without an audience, without my relatives on the races… I don’t want to end on that ”.
Will we see the friendly Yo, his nickname with the Blues, in a starting gate next season? This will depend in part on the result of this Thursday, February 11, during super-G where he dreams of finally catching the first victory of his long career. And its ability to inflict hours and hours of weight training on itself next summer, a must-have for descenders who must develop steel muscles to face the slopes at high speed.