The French canoeist Loic Leonard tells his secret of getting ready for the race!
The sports achievements
ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships – 2 bronze medals.
The French Championship – 15 gold, 18 silver и 6 bronze medals.
The participant of World and European Championships, World Cups at 2015 and 2016.
How did you get into canoe? Did you try yourself in the other sports?
I live in the city where there the first club in France was founded 26 years ago. The canoe is practiced in schools and that's how I started at the age of 9. I have already tried other sports when I was younger like football or karate but just to pass the time.
What are your goals for this year? Where do you train?
My year is going to be a bit special because the 200m is no longer Olympic now. If I want to be in Tokyo I have to change distance. So I'm going to prepare the 1000m. I hope to run in single-seater in the U23 races for 1000m and 200m and come back with medals. But I also want to be present on the senior races and why not in C2 on 1000m for world championship.
But all this will depend on the national selections. The reconversion for 1000m does not worry me but I would have liked so much to continue on 200m. This is the game #SaveCanoe.
I train mainly in my club of Saint Laurent Blangy (ASL). Last week I was at the training camp in Temples Sur Lot and in December I’ll go to Vila Nova de Milfontes. I like canoe sprint!
In your opinion what are the strongest teams in the world? What are their advantages?
Germany is a strong nation in many disciplines and distances, Russia too. I think sports policy is different than in France. These nations can live off their sport or are part of the army, the police. It is therefore easier to find time to train. It's my opinion.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time? What are your hobbies?
I am still a student and free time is not often. I study economics and sales.
I enjoy parties with friends not to think about the sport. I listen to a lot of rap music and I watch clips.
When I go home I take advantage of it to work. I would like the canoe sport to be more publicized and I work for it. All athletes must mobilize for this.
Tell us how do you get ready for the race? How do you overcome anxiety and fear?
It's a funny and not easy question to answer. Before the race I like to repeat that I am fit for the race and I am ready to do anything. I never feel an important stress. Before entering the starting block I think: «I am the best, I can do it, no one has reason to be better than me, we are all the same». And I go!
What do you love most about canoe? If you don’t like something – tell about it as well.
Races and competitions! I really like this feeling of freedom; it is always nice to discover new sites of practice. What I like the least is the wind.
Do you think that your team is friendly? Is there a leader who motivates the others? Is the crew big?
The team is like a family. I do not think there is a real leader. Everyone is able to motivate the others.
The team is not very great unfortunately when I compare to the other nations. We have the doctor, the physiotherapists, all the coaches and the manager, I think I quoted everyone. A simple and efficient team.
Do you need motivation to love sport and do your best? What/who motivates you? Wish something to the young kayakers!
We all need motivation. My favorite athlete is Arnold Schwarzenegger. For young people I think the best motivation is the international athletes.
When I was young I had pictures of Mathieu Goubel and Thomas Simart. In 2010 when Thomas became vice world champion it was a model for me and now I sprint and train with him, that's the motivation and I thank them.
Thomas Simart and Mathieu Goubel
I would like to inspire young athletes and encourage them to do great things. The future of the canoe is for us to create it and I dream it wonderful.
What is your main life-achievement for today?
A new Olympiad begins, the answer is ready.
Where are your friends from?
Great question! I really like to talk to the international athletes and find out how the sport works in other countries. The canoe athletes are a big family and I would love to be able to talk to each of them.
Have you heard about CanoeSport?
The story is funny! I am following all the CanoeSport pages but I did not know who wrote them.
Once on a training course in Portugal I was with the Russian team and talking with Ilya Medvedev. I discovered that CanoeSport came from his brother Sergey Medvedev.
We need media like this for our canoe sport and I thank you. I wish you all the best!
Loic Leonard special for CanoeSport.