“At the airport, when I understood what was happening”

“At the airport, when I understood what was happening”
“At the airport, when I understood what was happening”

Every Monday until July 26, 2024, the date of the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics, Ouest-France will offer you an interview with an Olympic champion to relive with them their joys, their doubts, their tears, their thrills when it was time to climb to the top of the podium and make La Marseillaise resonate.

With her braid blue-white-red, Estelle Mossely became the very first French women’s Olympic champion on August 19, 2016, during the Rio Olympics, on her 24th birthday. With his companion at the time, Tony Yoka, they had won the stars and acquired a notoriety rarely seen for Olympic boxers. After becoming a professional and mother of two children, Mossely decided, seven years later, to set out again to conquer gold at the Paris Olympic Games. For nearly 45 minutes, she agreed to look back on her coronation and talk about how she used it to prepare for the new challenge that awaits her.

What memories do you have of this Olympic epic in Rio?

I especially keep this final in mind. The Olympic title was a lifelong goal. It remains a very good memory and when people show me the images, I always have lots of emotions. It shows that it’s important. There is nothing more pleasant than remembering good memories.

What images come to mind?

The concentration I had, as well as the complicity with all the athletes of the French team (the boxers had renamed themselves the “strong team”). I remember that I entered the competition quite late, but I was mobilized from the start. I had to go encourage my teammates. Apart from the fights, where I was hyper-focused and where things went well, I think the strongest part was this team aspect and everything we were able to share together.

What impact did the strong team have on your performance?

Since January, we trained together all the time, we even lived together. So it was a strong support miles from Paris. It allowed us to have this common objective, which also sets the scene for the issue. We weren’t alone in the ring, but we felt like the whole team was there. It was important to be surrounded, being so far from our country, our loved ones and our friends. And then, personally, I had been world champion a few months earlier, so I could only be Olympic champion.

However, in the final, things were off to a bad start after losing the first two rounds…

It was close, but like all fights. You had to be aware of your work and your abilities, but I’m not out of the ordinary. What makes the difference is the mind, it’s this ability to turn situations around. There is this little extra, which means that we will be gold medalists and the others will not.

“I hope 2024 will surpass 2016”

You said it was the greatest victory of your career…

And that’s still the case. As long as I don’t arrive in Paris, that will always be the case (laughs). That’s also why I’m doing the Games again. I hope 2024 surpasses that. That’s why I wanted to go back to an Olympics. And I couldn’t miss everything I’ve already experienced with the Olympic Games.

Without this Olympic title, would you have taken the step of turning professional?

I really do not know. I think it would have been a disappointment not to win gold, so I wouldn’t have been in the same spirit. How would I have handled it? I really do not know. Basically, my goal was to be an Olympic champion and leave boxing behind. But these are the opportunities, as well as the fallout…

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