In The Shoes Of Gauthier Grumier, Rio Bronze Medalist
Gauthier Grumier won a bronze medal in individual and gold team fencing at the Olympic Games in Rio. Gauthier Grumier is a great champion and is particularly discreet. He accepted to answer some questions and gave us some good tips about his choice of shoes for fencing.
FC: What is Gauthier Grumier's daily life?
GG: I have 2 professional missions, I train the fencing specialty in the Modern Pentathlon discipline with the Senior French Team and I am responsible for the socio-professional monitoring of pentathletes.
Regarding fencing, we are 2 coaches for a group of 14 pentathletes. We give each of them 2 individual lessons of 45min - 1h per week. And we run between 2 and 3 assault sessions per week lasting between 1h15 and 2h.
There is also planning work for the year and weekly regulations to be carried out. We also work with the video analysis tool to better know our pentathlete in order to see in which area he is performing the best. It is time-consuming work because we have little time to devote to it because of the sequence of competitions and daily work.
My other mission is to be in charge of the socio-professional follow-up. It involves relationships with my athletes' academic leaders, being in touch with their employers when they have them, and working on developing the employment contracts of those who will be recruited. I assist athletes in their choice of orientation.
FC: Can you tell us the role of fencing in pentathlon?
GG: My colleagues in modern pentathlon have done a study of what is called the attributable part of each specialty in modern pentathlon performance. Thus, if the final result represents 100%, swimming represents 16% of the performance, riding 20%, fencing 27% and the combined event of shooting and running 37%. A strategic watch has been put in place by my colleagues and shows that to be awarded Gold in the pentathlon, it is necessary to finish the fencing in the first 8.
We realize that fencing plays a very important role in modern pentathlon.
The formula is as follows, in the final, there are 36 participants. Pentathletes make a single pool in 1 touch 1 minute (so 35 touches). The touch earns 8 points. 1 point equals one second, which is important in the Combined Shot / Race as the athletes go with a handicap to start.
FC: How is the preparation for Tokyo and the 2020 Olympic Games going?
GG: The preparation is going on overall very well. We are completing a period of internal "pre-qualification". Last year our group of boys was very successful, we ended up with what is called in France a problem of rich. We have a lot of athletes who can pretend to go to the Games, but like other nations, we will only be able to select 2. We had to develop a funnel selection process to keep the collective the longest open and competitive before close to reaching 2 athletes at the time of the Games.
In a slightly more specific way, in fencing, the group progresses and becomes denser. This is very interesting for our best ones because it requires them to continue to progress even more. At the same time the strong pull the weakest up, we are in a virtuous circle, everyone brings to the group.
In spite of this observation, we are a little ahead of the collective results on international events.
FC: France's men's épée team began its qualification phase for the Tokyo Olympics last weekend in Coubertin and got the SILVER. Your feeling about this team?
GG: The French team of épée starts well the Olympic race. They had something to be afraid by going against Ukraine in T16 and Hungary in the quarterfinals. It's a good performance.
Now we must not forget that the path will be long. The next two events will count enormously in the qualification process (European and World Championships). After these two tests, we will see a little more clearly on which nations have a chance to join Tokyo.
Since 2016, the team has changed a lot. But compared to the competition, the others also renewed a lot. My feeling is that it's a team that dominates less than in the past. They rely heavily on Yannick BOREL which could become problematic. Now, we are 14 months from the Olympic Games, many things can still evolve and change with the emergence of one or two athletes who would densify this team and allow it to qualify and win a new medal in Tokyo 2020.
FC: Let's return to a topic that interests our readers. Could you give us some advice on choosing a pair of shoes for fencing? What do you look at first?
GG: 2013 I was injured on the right ankle, my back foot once on guard. I still have some sequel with less joint movement and inflammations that can happen without warning. My choice will be on the Nike Kobe 8. They were real slippers in addition to being light. In 2016, I knew that the end of my career was approaching, so I looked for this model on a different website to have several pairs in advance.
The advantage of these shoes was the flexibility, the thickness of the sole on the side and the gray on the track. The disadvantage was the durability of the shoe. I used 2 to 3 pairs a year.
FC: Do we need to buy high-end fencing shoes or can we choose an economic model? Maybe another sport like Badminton or Basketball?
GG: For my part, I fenced with a lot of shoes. In the final, I preferred the Nike Kobe 8. These are basketball shoes. After, we must find a compromise between comfort and sensation. For me, sustainability is not a fundamental issue in my choice of fencing shoes. As long as I feel good inside, the essential is there.
For durability, you can turn to models for tennis too.
FC: One last word?
GG: Thank you for this interview. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions, I will be happy to answer them.