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2012 Olympic Champion Lucie Decosse reflects four days of judo
10 Aug 2016 12:15
Four years ago, the French legend Lucie Decosse won the Olympic title in -70kg. Widely considered as one of the best judoka of her generation, Decosse won that Olympic gold that was missing to her amazing prize list. Retired from the tatami at least as an athlete, the judo icon is in Rio and commentating on judo for the French broadcaster. On the eve of the competition, which will see her Olympic title called into play, the champion reflected on her years as an elite judoka and on her new life as a commentator.
"I'm glad and happy to be here, even if it's a totally different atmosphere from the one I have known in all my years of competition. I must admit I had a little apprehension before arriving, but since I am in Rio, I feel just fine. By watching judo, I actually begin to realise what I did during my career.“
“During the games I am a consultant for French television. It's a job I regularly do and I like it. My main objective is to transmit the things that I see on the tatami but that I also have experienced. I think my experience is a plus."
Decosse also commented on what she feels when she is installed a little further from the tatami, in a commentator box: "The Games are really great and I am well aware that not everyone can experience the magic of this adventure. Now I do realise how hard it is. It's really difficult to participate in the Games when you're an athlete. Many try for an entire career but they will never go to the Olympics. I think it is really complicated at all levels.
“In absolute terms, this is a normal competition, but during the Games, you have a pressure that is totally different from any other event. That moment is unique and it's the one that will ultimately count in your career. This day you can’t make any mistake. You have to be in a state of mind that allows you to practice your judo as during the rest of the year, but it's just another world, it's different. I did not realise this before I jumped on the other side of the fence."
"This is the first time that I am a spectator of what is going on on the mat like that. I love it! I like that someone like Majlinda Kelmendi (KOS), who is a double world champion, the favourite of the favourites, wins in the end. I like that an athlete like her who is the 'Mom’ of other competitors confirms what people think of her. But I also like when an athlete such as this crazy Italian, Basile, who nobody knows, wins with style. All this gives me chills. "
The London 2012 Olympic champion explained the difficulty she had to commentate when she first arrived in Rio: "It was not easy. I worked for a television network in my country, in France, and it was difficult for our athletes. I had to make our viewers vibrate for our athletes, but it was complicated. It hurt me to see them suffer on the mat while I was up there in the press box. As a former athlete I felt bad in a way. But that's sport. "
Finally, before returning in the heights of the Carioca Arena to commentate on the final block where her compatriot, Clarisse Agbegnenou - at the time of this interview - had the ability to compete for the gold medal, Decosse shared a message she wants all judoka to convey: "My message is clearly to make people love judo. During the Games, we are mainly talking to the general public and you have to convince the audience to stay in front of their television sets. It is not a discussion among specialists. Everything goes very fast. We must get to the point and never forget that millions of people must understand, vibrate and have fun. When I watch judo, I think it's really super hard to be there. The level is getting higher and higher. When you watch TV, we only see the fight, but it's much more than that. This is what I want to convey as a message. "
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