Q&A: Christophe Lemaitre

Iain Martin caught up with the rapid French sprinter – the first white man to break the 10-second 100m barrier – in the French ski resort of Tignes

christophe lemaitre

Christophe Lemaitre outsprints Dwain Chambers in the 60m event at Tignes

What does running mean to you?

For me running is sprinting – it’s my passion. When I discovered sprinting at 15 years old, I fell in love with it straight away.

What was your best ever run?

The 200m in Rio, of course. It was my first individual Olympic medal.

If you could only enter one more race, what would it be?

It would be perfect to finish my career by racing at the 2024 Olympic Games…hosted in Paris!

What’s your most cherished running possession?

The most important thing for me are my spikes. You need them to run fast, in training and competition. It’s the first thing I look for each day.

You enjoyed football, handball and rugby when younger – what led you to athletics?

My coaches in the other sports told me that I was fast, but it never occurred to me that I could be a sprinter. I was persuaded to do a local trial to test my potential. After my first run they asked me to run again as they couldn’t believe my time. So I ran it again and still set the fastest time of the day!

You are from the Savoie region in the foothills of the Alps – when you were at school did you ski?

I’ve never really liked skiing, despite living near the mountains. At school I was a ‘sports student’ so I only took school in the mornings and was able to focus on my training every afternoon.

Your winning time in the 60m sprint in Tignes was 6.58 – only 3/100th of second off your PB

Yes, I am very happy with that. It’s the first time I’ve raced in January, normally it’s February. I started training again in mid-November. I now have to find out if I can carry that through over the next few weeks.

What did you think of the head-to-head format? Dwain Chambers, who you faced in the final, was World Champion over the distance in 2010…

It’s unusual, but it’s good for athletics to change a bit. It still felt like a big meeting. Dwain put me under pressure and that’s what allowed me to run well.

The qualification time for the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade (Mar 3-5) is 6.65 – will you take this form on to that event?

Not this year. It’s too late as I need to focus on getting in shape for the summer. This winter the only goal is to work and to have fun.

You won a bronze medal in the 4 x 100m relay at London 2012 – what are your goals for the World Championships in London this summer?

My goal is to get on the podium at every major championships. I’d love to win another medal in London.

Christophe Lemaitre was taking part in the ‘Indoor Sprint & Jump’ in Tignes, France. More info at en.tignes.net/indoor-sprint-and-jump

Written by Iain Martin | 6 articles | View profile

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