Despite the many uncertainties associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing were indeed held between February 4 and 20, 2022. The French delegation was also present for its twenty-fourth participation in the Winter Olympics. So what’s the balance for Beijing tricolor sport? In which disciplines did France excel, and precisely in which did it disappoint? A brief summary of the performance of the French delegation during these 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
A more than honorable balance but…
The French delegation won a total of fourteen medals, including five gold, seven silver and two bronze. A total that is far from fundamentally bad from a strictly accounting point of view. Indeed, with its 5 gold medals, France finished the Beijing Winter Olympics in 10th place in the ranking of countries (which is quite honourable). The tricolor delegation did even better or just as well in a number of areas in 2018. For example, France has won more silver medals than in 2018 (7 against 4) and as many titles (gold medals). So why is it not a satisfaction, but a mixed plate? Did health limitations play a role in this assessment?
Uneven performance from one discipline to another
If this generally good performance (also by the main stakeholders) can be perceived as partly disappointing, it is for several reasons. First of all, the first is quite obvious that as a participant and member of a delegation with certain pretensions, the goal is not to do as well, but better. Another reason for this mixed feeling is the inconsistency in performance from discipline to discipline. So, during this 2022 winter epic, it should be noted that the French achievements were carried almost remotely by a discipline, in this case biathlon. It is in the “customs sport” that France was able to get half of its medals (seven medals, including three in gold and four in silver). A far from new phenomenon since the 2006 Turin Games, biathlon is the main supplier of tricolor medals. Add to that the fact that during this edition of 2022 it is mainly one man who will make his team shine. Quentin Fillon Maillet of the Jura, who won five of the seven medals and finished on the podium in every race, was without a doubt the locomotive of the tricolor biathlon team. A historical performance in more ways than one, because it should not be forgotten that this performance had not been performed by a Frenchman for almost a century. In terms of satisfaction, we must also salute the achievement of the pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron in figure skating. The duo won the only medal missing from their list and with style, beating their own world record for rhythm dance by 90.83 points.
As is often the case with disappointment, it was because there were high expectations. For example, during the 2022 Winter Olympics, some promises on paper did not lead to the expected results. This was particularly the case for 23-year-old freestyle skier Perrine Laffont, for whom a historic doppelganger appeared to be stretching her arms. It will ultimately have to settle for a much more modest fourth place in Beijing. The other big disappointment of these Winter Olympics is Alexis Pinturault. The French skier, a big favorite in the discipline, eventually settled for a fifth place in the giant slalom and worse, a sixteenth in the slalom. Finally, among the major disappointments, it is worth mentioning the sprinters Richard Jouve and Lucas Chanavat in cross-country skiing. The duo, big favorites for a podium place, saw their dreams come to an end in the semi-finals. Finally, and as Brigitte Henriques, President of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF), acknowledges, it all depends on whether we see the glass half empty or half full when we take stock.