French duo in the mood for gold

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service

Pierre Vaultier of France poses for a portrait at an Red Bull Athletes Shoot in Rouen France on May 7, 2016 –
Photographer Credit:
Vincent Curutchet / Red Bull Content Pool

Pierre Vaultier and Alexis Pinturault set their sights on medal glory in February.

They come from the French Alps and are part of the national ski and snowboard team. Meet Pierre Vaultier and Alexis Pinturault, the duo with their sights all set on gold come February.

Vaultier is the current Olympic and world champion in snowboard cross, while Pinturault has set a target on going two better than his giant slalom bronze in Sochi.

At 30, Vaultier does not lack for confidence going into the event describing himself as “the man to beat in this competition”.

Four years ago, he had entered Sochi lacking full fitness after damaging his anterior cruciate ligaments just two months previously.

Pierre Vaultier and participants train at the Red Bull Snowboard X Camp in Serre Chevalier, France on March 28th, 2015 –
Photographer Credit:
Teddy Morellec/Red Bull Content Pool

Now fully healthy, he said in a video interview: “I showed up in 2014 in a totally atypical situation while still injured or at least recovering, just out of injury, and winning the gold medal was a big thing as it warded off bad luck on this big event.

“This will certainly help me a lot while in South Korea. I have this gold medal and I will compete for another one, but now I know the road to victory.”

He is well versed in the potential distractions and, unlike in the past, will forego watching the racing as previously he was “losing a lot of my focus”.

And he has pledged to turn into an animal come competition time in February: “I am a seemingly calm, cool and calculated person but, as soon as I get out of the starting gate, I turn into a lion.”

Alexis Pinturault during the Race for the World Cup Giant Slalomin Val d Isere on December 09, 2017 –
Photographer Credit:
Erich Spiess/ASP/Red Bull Content Pool

For Pinturault, a world champion this year and also winner of 10 World Cup races during his career to date, the target in PyeongChang is no different to his countryman.

“My objective is to go get gold, this is the objective this year for me,” said the 26-year-old on camera. “You realize this is a very special event, one that happens every four years.”

In Sochi, he admits to having got distracted by the “magnitude of the event”, a facet that could arguably have proved the difference between bronze and a higher position on the post-race podium.

“I had stars in my eyes and lost sight of why I was there in the first place,” he said. “But Russia allowed me to learn a lot.

“You need to keep things simple, keep in mind that you’re there to ski as fast as possible and that there is a start, gates and a finish line.”



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