He came, he saw, he conquered. Thierry Gueorgiou is once again among us and spoke to Orientovar. About the successful last season and the most beautiful medal ever, but also about the start of this new season and the way that it's being prepared. And about Portugal, of course, a country where he always returns with great pleasure.
Orientovar – You are again in Portugal and that is, first of all, a great honour for us. Why Portugal?
Thierry Gueorgiou – It's always with great pleasure that I come back to Portugal and that I'm here, now, at Norte Alentejo. This is a part of the country that I don't know very well, since I was only here last year, at Portugal O' Meeting. This year I'm planning to come here more often, since I will compete at Portugal O' Meeting 2012 and at WRE [XIII Meeting Orientação Centro]. Then, I will come back in March. There are several days I'll spent here, but it's always with new joy that I return. The terrains are of super quality and the weather is always fine.
Orientovar – In which step of your preparation for the new season are you?
Thierry Gueorgiou – Let's say I'm in the middle of my preparation. I started training in November, so I already have two months of preparation. The feeling is, for now, very good and, after the work at the level of training, it's time to work on competition. Step by step, everything is directed for that and so, within this planning, the competition at Arronches this weekend was important, even if it wasn't the most important race of the present season. The season is long; in April, things will have another dimension, but now it's time for everything to be prepared.
Now is the right time to focus our efforts on the preparation
Orientovar – Will your first big goal be the European Championship?
Thierry Gueorgiou – Exactly. This year, the season is particularly compact, with the EOC in May and, in July, the WOC. There will be three months when a lot of things will be played. Now is the right time to focus our efforts on the preparation, so that we will be ready in April to face this challenges with high thoughts.
Orientovar – Talking a little about the last season, can we classify it as the most successful of your career?
Thierry Gueorgiou – Taking in consideration the number of medals, it was clearly the most successful season. Besides, this particularity of the WOC being in France made it even more special. It offered me very strong emotions that, meanwhile, were forgotten. What really counts is that, this winter, I came back to training with a great pleasure and it's with confidence that I face the future. 2011 was certainly truly extraordinary but 2012 is what really matters to me now.
The gold medal from the Relay race was the most beautiful
Orientovar – Out of the three gold medals conquered at WOC 2011, I dare to say that the Relay one was the medal that meant the most for you. Am I right?
Thierry Gueorgiou – Yes. The gold medal from the Relay race was the most beautiful, for everything it holds, for the moment when it was conquered. Also because it was reached in France, in a very particular atmosphere. At the time of putting a full stop on my career, this medal will certainly be the one that I will put in front of all the others, because it is truly special.
Orientovar – Will we see you again with three gold medals on your chest at WOC 2012, in Switzerland?
Thierry Gueorgiou - Well... that's very hard to say. That's what I'm preparing for but, after all, that is what I do every year and only once I managed to achieve it. To be well prepared and to have as a goal winning a gold medal, that's all I can say right now. Reaching at least for once a gold medal will already be a bliss.
I welcome Kenneth Buch with my arms wide open
Orientovar – Kenneth Buch is the new French Team coach. Any special expectations?
Thierry Gueorgiou – That really is something new in our structure and that I face with great enthusiasm. It will be very positive for me, since it will give me the possibility to project myself into the future. We are still in a period of discovery, he has just arrived and we didn't have the opportunity to know him well yet, but we will do a training camp precisely in Portugal and then we will already know him better. Personally, I welcome Kenneth Buch with my arms wide open. It's always important a new face that certainly will have different points of view to offer. That's what I expect from him.
Orientovar – When the changes to the future WOC program are voted by IOF's General Assembly, in Lausanne, what results do you expect?
Thierry Gueorgiou – I think that every orienteers impatiently await for this decision. Most of them aren't really happy with what is advocated and we hope from IOF's responsible a new reflexion. In a personal point of view, my situation is kind of particular, since these decisions don't have to do with me on a very direct way. I will place a full stop on my career before the measures are implanted, but that doesn't stop me from feeling released of taking a position. Even because I plan to keep connected to Orienteering. If IOF keeps seeing merits on these changes and intends to take them forward, well, we will see the results in the future.
[Portugal O' Meeting 2012] will be even better
Orientovar – You won Portugal O' Meeting in 2007, getting then the highest punctuation ever in a World Ranking Event. On what mood do you return next February, to the same region Centro, to run Portugal O' Meeting 2012?
Thierry Gueorgiou – The 2007 race remains as my best recall, because it was done in amazing terrains and I had a lot of fun. This year I already had the opportunity of analysing some extracts of the maps where the races will take place and it will be, again, an exceptional experience. Although it's always difficult to perspective whatever it is right now, since we are still on winter and these are the first competitions of the year, I hope to do good races. Portugal O' Meeting is the first really important competition of the season, I always have it on my mind, it's an amazingly well organized event and this year it will be even better. So, I impatiently wait for it.
Orientovar – More than a question, I would like to ask you to leave a message to all orienteers in the beginning of a new year.
Thierry Gueorgiou – I wish all orienteers an excellent 2012 and that they enjoy the forest. Practically in the end of my career I understand that, although the results are naturally important, the most important is the pleasure we take from our participation on the races. We can even be frustrated about our results, but we finish a race with health and always willing to run a new map and to take a different challenge. That's what really counts. Health to everyone in 2012 and take well the beauty of our sport.
[Interview translated by Ana Macedo]