Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Léon Marchand: “I'm 21 years old, I'm reaching my peak in my sport and the Games are at home. What more could you ask for ?”

Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Léon Marchand: "I'm 21 years old, I'm reaching my peak in my sport and the Games are at home. What more could you ask for ?"

The Toulouse swimmer will be one of the stars of the French Olympic team. XinHua – Xu Chang

Expected to be one of the big stars of the Paris 2024 Olympics in less than five months, French swimmer Léon Marchand, who has been training in the United States for almost three years, says to himself &quot ;excited" with the idea of ​​returning to France to prepare for the Games.

'I'm 21, I'm reaching my peak in my sport and the Games are at home. What more could you ask for ?", he said in a video interview with AFP, RMC and Radio France.

Having entered another dimension since he broke Michael Phelps' 400m medley world record, the five-time world champion knows he is eagerly awaited in Paris and is preparing & quot;mentally and physically" for the Olympic meeting.

From the United States, look at what is happening in France around the Olympics ?

I'm not really trying to find out, but inevitably I see things happening. In fact, I'm so far away that it's difficult to imagine my return to France, what's happening at the moment, how people react. I saw that there are a lot of negative points related to the organization, and also a lot of positive points. But it's really hard to imagine when you's here.

Are you aware that you should be one of the big stars of the Paris Olympic Games ?

I'm preparing myself mentally and physically for this. I understood it when I broke Michael (Phelps)'s record. Immediately in my head I said to myself: 'Well, the Paris Games are going to be different from what I had imagined!' #39;prepare for it every day with my mental trainer. We are preparing for the wait and for everything that will be around me during these two weeks which will be quite intense. It’s a new challenge, but above all it’s an opportunity. I'm 21 years old, I'm reaching my peak in my sport and the Games are at home. What more could you ask for ? I'm not going to complain, I'm going to prepare as much as possible and I'm going to enjoy.

Have you been able to see images of the Olympic village and the Arena de la Défense where the competitions will take place ?

The village looks very nice, the cardboard beds, I already know it so I wasn't surprised! The Arena, I've never been there but I've seen quite a few images. I know that there will be a huge screen, I know how the swimming pool will be positioned in the room… And I had my cousin who worked in the building and who was on the project of the swimming pool, so it was funny he sent me videos. I try to imagine things but I'm still so far away that it's not easy. But it's good, it will still be a bit of a surprise and I'll be happy to find out when I get there.

Are you worried about your return to France and the fervor that there should be around you ?

No, I'm not afraid of all that. I will be happy and happy to go home, see my family and spend time with them for the preparation. I'm quite happy to be able to go back. I'm excited to return to France and prepare for the Games.

You had a glimpse of the enthusiasm you generated last year at the French Championships. Will this experience be useful to you ?

Obviously I have a little more experience so I will manage it better. I'm going to try to be a little more open in terms of meeting people, signing autographs and sharing a little more… Last year I took advantage but I was very closed off, with the idea of ​​staying focused on my competition and I think I lost a lot of energy. We saw at the end of the competition, I had less energy in my races, and a little less smiling too. So I'm going to try to manage it differently. But it's true that the French Championships are not easy for me because it's no longer like before. Before, I was unknown, I did my little races, my little finals and I went home. This is not the same thing.

Is this something you like ?

I preferred before when I was unknown, because what I like is really swimming fast and having fun in the water. #39;water. This is something I have to come to terms with now. I'm not complaining about it because that's what I wanted too. Last year it was surprising for me and this year it will be much better. But actually, it's so good! That's what you have to say to yourself, seeing people's smiles, seeing that people are waiting for you when you come out of the pool. Seeing that everyone is encouraging you is still rare in this sport. So that’s why I want to enjoy it even more.

Are you also impatient at the idea of ​​meeting your comrades from the French team ?

Yes, it's clear! Plus they do lots of internships. At the time when I was in France, we didn’t do it often. But since the management of the federation changed, they have done lots of internships. Unfortunately I was never there. They seem to be having fun too, it’s a shame! I only see them once a year and I can't wait to see them again. We're all about the same age, we're all kind of friends and we get along really well.

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