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Last week, I pointed out how Aries Merritt had the perfect season.
Unfortunately things did not go according to plan for Christophe Lemaitre
Last year, he ran 9.92 & 19.80 for the 100m and 200m. This year, he ran 10.04 (in Rieti) and 19.91 with the focus on skipping the 100m at London to concentrate on the 200m.
For most people, 10.04 & 19.91 is a dream season, but for Lemaitre, it was a huge disappointment.
Some key take home notes from his end-of-season press conference:
- You have to race at least 5-7 100m races (or 3-5 400m races) to be mentally and physically ready for the big meet. Constantine Kenteris (aka Konstantinos ”Kostas” Kenteris) is a rare exception to race sparingly yet peak for the meets on time. We saw how Tyson Gay tried to race in Beijing 2008 after a length layoff from injury sustained at the US Trials months before. Moreover, Lashawn Merrit was rusty at the 2011 World Championships 400 meters after serving a 21 month ban and getting beat by Kirani James.
- Local training partners make a difference. Trying to find one at your level is even a tougher challenge when you are ranked Number 1 in your country. To have the #1 and #2 ranked athletes in the same city and same coach is rare (like Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake) but I’ve always said success breeds success. You need to be pushed. Getting to #1 is “easy”. Staying there is even tougher.
- Get a good Strength and Conditioning (S&C) coach and monitor progress. (Luckily, I have Derek Hansen on my side) Success at this level is a joint venture between the Head coach, S&C coach, Agent, Therapist and Athlete. All parties must be in coalition and agreement when scheduling meets.
- Look at the big picture and don’t sweat the small stuff… though that’s easy for me to say. I’m not the one lining up next to Asafa Powell. But you know what I mean…
Here is the press release experts from european-athletics.org:
"For an end of season run, it was OK. I have equaled my season’s best. I might have expected better but I am not going to turn my nose up at it. I had a good start and afterwards I lost my rhythm which forced me to adjust."
In Rieti, compatriot Jimmy Vicaut was expected to be his closest rival, but he was disqualified after a false start.
"Maybe it [the time] was due to a lack of preparation after the Olympics and doubtless it was to do with fatigue as well," explained Lemaitre who has also had a 10-day holiday since London. "I would have like Jimmy (Vicaut) to run with me, it’s unfortunate for him. It would have helped me. We are young, we will meet again. I had it in my head to go under 10sec."
Last year, Lemaitre swooped to a personal best 9.92 at his national championships, before picking up world 200m bronze in a sparkling 19.80. This year in comparison, his times have been 10.04 and 19.91.
"I am a little disappointed with my season because I did not get a medal at the Games and that was my aim," added Lemaitre. "The positives were the French title and European title. But taken all in all there are more disappointments than positives. I was too focused on the Games, I was too fixated on my daily life. I got worked up about nothing and I am too much of a perfectionist. For example, if I slept an hour less one night, I would say ‘Damn, I’ve slept an hour less.’ I would have liked to have raced a bit more this season, more races, more challenges. Running against fast people helps me run faster."
But was there anything else that indicated that there might be a problem compared to last year? "I did a test before the Olympic Games and it told me I have lost a bit of strength. I have only two sessions of physio per week and that is maybe too little.
"In any case, in order to improve I’ve got to really concentrate on my technique. In training I don’t have anyone to push me. I only have competition to help me improve. In France there is no one else except for Jimmy and the 4x100m squad. I have hit a ceiling but not gone backwards. But questions need to be asked in order to find out what needs to be changed."