Counting down: Why preparation is the key to a successful Olympics
We’re now exactly 12 months from the opening Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on 24th July 2020, and the long preparation is well underway for all those taking part: the Olympic Committee, the athletes – and the partners. While for me, as a rower, the next step in preparation will be qualifying for the 2019 World Championships at the end of next month; for Atos, it’s about continuing the testing of the Games’ official IT systems to ensure their reliability well ahead of the competition start.
Technical and psychological preparations
As I said before, qualifying for the 2019 World Championships at the end of August is my – or rather my team’s – is the next step on our journey to Tokyo. The first 11 teams in our category will win their ticket to the Games.
Our core preparations will begin after a short break: a long cycle of endurance training lasting from September to April. The diverse program includes two training sessions every day that work on both the physiological and technical aspects of the sport: boating, cycling and cross-country skiing outdoors alongside weight training and the ergometer – or indoor rowing machine – in the gym. Our only break will be Christmas Day!
From April to June, we will be participating in the World Cup circuit, putting all our work into motion and collecting the final indicators for the final phase of the preparation: the last 40 days before the opening of the Games. This phase shall remain a secret!
A pact based on common challenges
My collaboration with Atos began in 2018, after winning the titles of European Champion and World Champion with my partner Hugo Boucheron. When I returned home in October of the same year, I joined the Atos team in Lyon as part of a ministerial system, called Performance Pact. The objective of this pact is to prepare for both the Tokyo Olympic Games and building my life afterward.
My collaboration with Atos is based on a choice that synchronizes a combined professional and sporting project. It all began with a meeting with Thierry Blanchon, Director of Atos in the Lyon region and himself a former sportsman. He quickly identified my expectations and our common challenges. My integration started as a part-time job. My 1 PM to 4.30 PM working schedule allows me to train in the morning and evening. With recurrent competitions and travel, we have expanded options for working from abroad.
Meeting the Atos teams was great. It allowed me to share my experience, convictions and values with them. I was touched to see how the performance process in which I have engaged, my daily actions and my philosophy of life have influenced the lives of some people, even beyond the professional sphere.
Not everyone can become a top-level athlete; that's a reality. However, everyone can connect with the path they take, using this way of life as a source of inspiration to grow and move forward.
Optimizing performance through technology
Technology’s role in top-level sport is growing, even in the confidential processes surrounding our rowing practices. We mainly use technology to objectify and deepen the feelings and intuitions of the athlete or their coach. For example, on-board systems on the boat communicate physiological, technical and mechanical data in real-time to the athlete and his coach to help optimize performance. This important asset supports one of the main principles of high-performance sport: every single detail is crucial – you can never rest or be satisfied with your performance. Improving yourself is an ongoing process, one which must be repeated over and over again.
And just as I repeatedly test my performance, I know in the background Atos is doing the same: repeatedly testing the Games’ official IT systems over and over again. With many hundreds of thousands of hours of testing of IT systems completed, their performance, like mine, will be at its peak 12 months from now.