“I’m having so much fun …”, tastes Arthur Bauchet

With three gold medals and one bronze, Arthur Bauchet has established himself as the tricolor star of these 2022 Paralympic Games. At 21, the French para-alpine skier has an XXL record and is already planning the Games from 2026.

He appeared one last time before the journalists, on crutches, always with the same smile. Radiant, Arthur Bauchet, who suffers from spastic paraparesis, made the Marseillaise resonate for the third time at these Winter Paralympics thanks to his victory in the standing slalom category. Previously, he had already won the downhill and the Super Combined, not to mention a bronze medal at the end of the effort on the Giant. His record is already immense: eight Paralympic medals, including three titles, seven victories at the World Cup, not to mention his numerous successes at the World Cup. The Frenchman returned for RMC Sport at his brilliant Paralympic Games.

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With three golds and one bronze at these Games, can we finally say that you are the boss of the Blues?

No, still not the boss! I don’t think you’ll ever make me say that! I am a member of this French team, I have tried to represent it as best I can and I believe it is successful today.

What does this latest gold medal represent?

It’s crazy, really crazy… Considering the state I was in after the Giant (he collapsed on Thursday due to pain in his legs), I thought the slalom was going to be tough, so I actually took two days off or I didn’t do anything , I slept maximum. It’s really crazy this medal and it’s magical to do it like this on the last day. I started the Games in style (golden downhill), I finish them in style, what more could you want?

Do you think you’ve changed dimensions?

Of course, my status completely changed during these Games. But I think it also shows how Marie’s performance (Bochet, four titles in 2014 than in 2018) was just superhuman. I already have three gold medals, I feel like I gave so much, it’s crazy. Marie with her four titles at two different Paralympiades, it’s just magic so big thoughts to her.

Did you doubt your physical condition after the Giant?

No I didn’t hesitate. After my second giant run I saw that the limits were being pushed. I said to myself ‘it doesn’t matter what state you are in now, you have to go, you rent, it’s the last one’. I said I wanted to come to these Games and leave with no regrets, so I knew if I didn’t make that slalom or do the job, I would regret it. It may not be the prettiest ski, but there you go.

At 21, do you realize what your prize list represents?

Admittedly, it’s pretty crazy. In fact, I enjoy sports so much, I enjoy skiing, I live my best life. It is true that the list of prizes is impressive and I think if, when I started with the “disabled person”, I had said ‘in six or seven years you will be eight time Paralympic medalist, three time Paralympic champion’ I would have said no I do not think so. But today it is really crazy and I still have so much fun skiing and having fun on these slopes.

We saw you celebrating with the team, the other skiers, Oscar Burnham (para alpine skier) fell into your arms…

Exactly, Oscar is really my friend, we are always together in the room, we create connections. We started the second run in succession, he said to me ‘you wait for me at the bottom but I want you to be the first, er, I want to see your name at the top of the board’! And at the end we jumped into each other’s arms, so cool to be able to share this all as a team that we enjoy it to the fullest…

What differences do you see between these three medals?

Every medal has its story. The first remains a crazy memory, especially as it was the descent, I wouldn’t necessarily be the favorite and down, waiting for the results, I’d never been so stressed, not even on the baccalaureate! The Super Handset I outdid myself to get it. Also this one, on the slalom, I asked myself a lot of questions anyway, I’ve even dreamed about it. I made all possible scenarios myself, one of which was either I left and it was Oscar who won! We never say two without three, so today I was eager to go for this third gold medal. Of course I don’t forget the bronze because it is also very beautiful, it has a special taste.

Are you already able to project yourself onto the sequel?

I project myself there because the coaches repeat very often that getting to the top is hard, but staying there is even harder. I think we’ve got it all figured out. At the end of Pyeongchang (Games of 2018), I immediately thought of Beijing and told myself I had four years to work and show what I’m capable of. And today the bet is successful. I’m going to put myself in the same mode in 2026. Of course I didn’t forget all the races before that. But that’s still the Games, so we’re going to train for four years.

Interview by Valentin Jamin in Beijing