— How does the support and monitoring of athletes throughout the project make the agency strong?
The support we offer is tailor-made at both sports and school level. As soon as we get in touch with athletes, we identify their needs and expectations. Not everyone has the same desires and I think our strength is in really listening to everyone. Between the 17-year-old half-crosser who wants to study engineering at an Ivy League like Harvard or Princeton and the 21-year-old triple jumper interested in business preparing for the Paris Games, you have to adapt to find the best options. , for her and for him.
What is usually valued is the proximity that the agency can have with the athletes, which facilitates communication and enables the construction of solid projects. On the 14th of July, for example, we gathered our athletes (all sports combined) leaving for the beginning of the 2022 school year, for a day in Paris at the premises of Le Coq Sportif, a partner of the agency. This made it possible to create a connection between the athletes and benefit from good advice, in particular that of Severin Luthi, coach of Roger Federer, present on video. They know they won’t be alone in the US.
In addition, we keep in touch after departure. We seek to promote their performances on the other side of the Atlantic to give them visibility and make others want to join them. We are available during our studies in the USA and this is very reassuring, both for students and parents.
– What are the advantages of carrying out this double project in the USA?
In the US, sport is a way of life, a culture. And unlike France, sport mainly goes through schools, with the exception of professional sport, which goes through clubs. We talk a lot about the quality of infrastructure in the US and rightly so. The 2022 World Championships in Athletics was a real success and took place in Eugene on the campus of the University of Oregon. It is worth remembering that Hayward Field, which hosted the 10 days of competition, cost 270 million dollars, it is crazy!
All universities have a full medical team, professional trainers, physical trainers. Schedules are organized for athletes and the resources available are exceptional. Top universities often offer state-of-the-art nutritionists, sports psychologists, and recovery aids like antigravity mats and treadmills.
In the United States, everything is in place for student-athletes to succeed academically and athletically. Counselors are there to help athletes succeed in their college course. It is necessary to obtain good academic results to compete in competitions and benefit from a sports scholarship.
— Can you talk about the NCAA championship?
NCAA championships rock! I had the opportunity to watch it and I can say it was amazing! The number of spectators, the atmosphere, the exceptional density of athletes from the championship with an impressive number of athletes of the highest level. You have to be senior level in the France national team to expect to have your place there.
This year it all happened in Eugene with, in order, the NCAA championships, then the tryouts (US teams) and finally the worlds. There are many athletes who participated in the three competitions and felt at home in these worlds.
To finish with some statistics, 123 athletes at American universities in 2022 participated in the Eugene World Championships. They won a total of 19 medals. And more broadly, 21% of the athletes present at the worlds went through an American university at some point in their career. It’s still far from being the case in France, it’s a shame. Others took advantage of this American college system like Shana Grebo, who had an incredible first season at the University of Oregon.