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Date
24 Aug 2010
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IOC News

Frédéric Magné rediscovers the Olympic atmosphere and takes part in a “Chat with Champions” session


Frédéric Magné, Olympian, seven-time world cycling championships gold medallist, talks about his first few days in Singapore.

When I arrived in Singapore two days ago, I have to admit that I felt nothing like I did when I competed at my four Summer Olympic Games (1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000).
So I got here feeling very relaxed and very proud to have been chosen as an athlete role model. How nice to be able to talk about your passion and experience to young athletes full of hope and keen to learn!

On my first day, I went to the MTB competitions. The first nice surprise was the organisation: highly professional, but also very close to the athletes and very much in touch with everyone taking part… Only six hours in Singapore, and I can already sense that something special is going on.

The second day was quite quiet, but reinforced my impression from the previous day, i.e. I’m witnessing something very special. I come back down to earth, realising that the young athletes I am mixing with are the same age as my elder son, and are part of the Facebook and other media generation.

Third day: the highlight of my experience

The programme of the 19th includes BMX at the venue, with a great atmosphere and everyone taking part aged between 16 and 20, i.e. athletes (17 and 18) commentator and organisers (16 or 18) and the live rock group (between 16 and 18).

I’m over the moon, even if I’m a bit stressed thinking about joining Frankie Fredericks this evening to talk to the athletes in the Village. Frankie, the star I admired at INSEP when he was in Paris to train.

Back at the competition, the big surprise is seeing that the winner of the women’s BMX competition is a rider who trains at the World Cycling Centre, for which I am responsible. That makes me very happy.

I leave for the Village with the person who is looking after me: a fantastic volunteer who is doing a great job managing my programme.

Arrival at the Village, where I meet Rania Elwani, who will also be taking part in the chat with Frank Fredericks. She is FANTASTIC. I’m like a child when I talk to her and, to my surprise, she speaks to me in French…

She puts me at my ease and seems very calm and composed. Then Frankie arrives. I look at him and think back to 15 years ago at the INSEP, doing those lengths to become the best.

The moment of truth arrives… I feel very small next to my two companions. But what a surprise to find some French athletes encouraging me as we go down the stairs, and I feel much better already. I realise that I am there for them, all those young athletes, and that I have been chosen to talk about the happiness and passion I experienced in my career as an elite athlete. I feel like telling them how proud I feel to be able to talk to them, as they are the real actors. They are the ones doing the YOG, nobody else. I see in their faces a gentle and intense freshness which, for me as a father, makes me proud to be able to share this moment.

I’m very pleased to be here with you, and to be an athlete role model for cycling…. Looked at very selfishly, I shall be the first cycling role model in this fantastic adventure. The Olympic Movement has given me everything, and is still being generous since my first experience in 1988 as an athlete.

I’m a happy man!!!!
 

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