Margaux Achard: “I’ve been coming back from Paris every weekend for two years now and I’m on the slopes as soon as possible”
It was at the end of winter 2015/2016 that the Savoie Margaux Achard, who was not yet 22 at the time, decided to end his career as a biathlete. Only climb once in the French team, during the World Junior Championships 2012 Kontiolahti (Finland), the one who was teammate of Julia Simon or from Justine Braisaz to the Savoy commission never managed to pass the course.
In front of Nordic magazine, Margaux Achard, who has become a gym teacher, agreed to play the game ‘What happened to them? “.
- When did you end your career as a top athlete and what was your state of mind at that time?
I stopped at the end of the 2016 season… it’s getting old! I still loved biathlon, be it training or competing, but I just felt like I couldn’t take it to the next level, even with the odds in my favor. So I decided to prioritize my studies. It is a choice that was not easy because I always had this passion and goals in mind. I still had a lot of fun on the skis and behind the gun. It leaves a touch of unfinished business, but sometimes you need to know how to be realistic. It didn’t take me long to set new goals!
- What was the hardest thing for you right after that? What did you miss?
The hardest part is getting back to “real” life! The weeks of training, group life and the small pressures for the big goals or the competitions that are important to us, those are things that we do not find afterwards. At least not in the same way and not with the same intensity.
- If you had the chance to enter a competition, what would it be? Which current athlete would you like to compete with?
Good question ! I am more “diesel”, I prefer long efforts. I would therefore very much like to participate in a (half) Ironman. Not necessarily because of the triathlon mentality, but rather because of the versatility it takes. Finally, before that I would have to learn how to swim well… or find someone who will do the swimming for me! I recently went on a trail run with Julia Simon, but I don’t think I’d get much support from her if I asked her to swim: she’s even less dropsy than I am
! In any case, I already know who I will no longer work with: my friend [le cycliste Benoît Cosnefroy, NDLR] ! The first and last time was at La Savoyarde du Hibou en du… and it didn’t end well .
- On the contrary, what did you miss the least?
Penalty rounds and push sessions! The first because I sometimes spent long moments of solitude there. And the push because I’ve always hated that, unlike my teammates on the committee who were really strong in this exercise. Justine [Braisaz]Julia [Simon] and Rachou [Rachel Demangeat] will recognize each other! (Ah yes and I would forget: there are also the falls in roller skis! My knees thank me for stopping…)
- What was your path after the end of your career?
I completed my Master STAPS, got my CAPEPS and the EPS aggregation… and then I completed my DE ski.
- What is your new life?
I have been a gym teacher in Paris for the past two years. I still haven’t got my transfer to return to Savoie so I asked for one year of availability for the upcoming school year. It’s hard to live without the living environment we have at home once we get used to it… And then I start to get tired of living in my suitcase. This year I’m going back a bit into the world of skiing/biathlon by working at the ESF, among others. I’ll see the students later, when I finally get my transfer. It’s a job I love to do! Besides that, I still do a lot of different sports, just for fun. I like cycling, running, ski touring or climbing… and I occasionally hand out grades without specific preparation and without pressure! I often decide at the last minute!
- When someone discovers your past on skis, what is their reaction?
Biathlon? That’s good running and cycling? (No, only Parisians can say that now that this sport has been in the media all winter long and we have French stars for it every weekend!). Seriously, I don’t talk about it often. The students who ask the most questions are because they often want to know something about our specialism. After this year with me they became unbeatable in this sport
- How would you say that your past as an athlete has helped you the most?
In the management of my personal life. I live with a professional sportsman and I think his rhythm of life is easier to understand because I had the same thing in the past (on a smaller scale of course). The sacrifices he makes, I understand them. I more easily accept the fact that he stays in training for a long time, that he is at home less often, that he sometimes has full days of training and that there are times in the year when he needs to recover. I think it’s important in our balance sheet.
- What place does the Nordic have in your current life?
I’ve been coming back from Paris every weekend for two years now and I’m on the slopes as quickly as possible. I have kept this passion and the Nordic will always have an important place in my life. I continue to follow the cross-country and biathlon circuits closely. Firstly because I continue to follow family, and also because I love to play sports, be it biathlon or something else! I’ve also maintained strong ties with my former teammates on the committee: three of them are also my wedding witnesses or bridesmaids (ouch, I’m afraid
!). We’ve had very strong moments together, good or not so good… and even though we see each other less often than before, we still know each other by heart!