At the FIS Summer Grand Prix in Einsiedeln, Gerard
Colin, the new head coach of the French team, spoke
with us about problems with young athletes in France
and his big dream.
When Slovene Matjaz Zupan ended his job as head
coach in France after last season, the door was
open for French Gerard Colin. Long-time ski jumping
fans have known his name for a while, the French
is definitely not a new face in the ski jumping
La Bresse born Colin made his debut in the newly
introduced ski jumping World Cup at the opening
event of the 4-Hills-Tournament 1979/80 in Oberstdorf.
During his career he was in the Top 15 various times,
his best result was a fourth place in Baerum, Norway
on March 11th 1983. "I've never made it to
the podium, but for a French, my results are absolutely
acceptable", says Colin and is directly addressing
the problems of ski jumping in France when it comes
to young athletes.
"At age 13 they lose interest“
"We have a lot of very young athletes. But
unfortunately then at age 13 or 14 they don't want
to train anymore." Colin can't tell what's
the reason for this. "There's incentive, the
young jumpers are good, but I don't know how to
keep their motivation high for a longer period of
time", Colin adds.
The three athletes in his A-team fortunately don't
have motivational problems. Youngster Ronan Lamy
Chappuis is the French hope for the future and the
new head coach sees big potential in him: "Ronan
is very motivated! He is young and can achieve a
lot, my hopes rest on him." But he also emphasizes
that there's no hierarchy in his small team. "Everyone
is important! We only have three athletes, only
two are in Einsiedeln, because Nicolas Mayer is
not here. Vincent Descombes Sevoie is the backbone
of the team. He is 30 years old and has a lot of
experience, but I don't know for how long he wants
to continue his career."
Gerard Colin ended his career in 1988 at age 29.
Back then he started working as an assistant coach
in France, also together with Austrian Alois Lipburger,
who died in a tragic car accident in 2001, and discovered
his passion for coaching. In the 2011/12 season
he started working with the French B-Team and it
is impossible to imagine French ski jumping without
him. Colin loves his job, although a lot has changed
since his career end in 1988.
"Back then everything was more relaxed"
"Right now I prefer being a coach. I like to
teach the guys and I'm also too old to jump myself",
the 56-year-old said smiling. Colin harshly criticizes
the involvement of the media in French ski jumping
and states that he would want to old days back.
"Back then everything was a lot more relaxed.
It's difficult to hold a straight course nowadays
when somebody is always interfering. People are
talking too much about everything, no matter if
they know something about it or not."
But still Colin thinks that ski jumping in France
has a lot of potential for the future. In the past
the western Europeans often closely missed top results.
Vincent Descombes Sevoie was French Champion various
times, but didn't achieve a podium result in the
World Cup so far.
"We are working hard, but to be on the podium
you need a perfect jump", explains the 30-year-old.
"Our team has the potential, but besides a
perfect take-off you also need perfect conditions
to be successful." According to Descombes Sevoie
the lack of young atheltes is also a reason that
the team doesn't achieve top results. "There's
not a lot of pressure within our team because there
are not a lot of young athletes."
Being coached by Gerard Colin is nothing new for
the French athletes. "We have already been
working with Gerard for two years", says Descombes
Sevoie. "Currently we are modifying our technique,
that we trained with Matjaz in the past." His
teammate Ronan Lamy Chappuis doesn't see much of
a change either. "The mentality of the team
is not that different now because we are working
with Gerard for a while and know him well",
told the 20-year-old talent. But there is something
that makes him happy: "The French team now
finally has a French coach! The communication is
a lot better than it was in English and we can discuss
mistakes more precisely. This will help us a lot
in the upcoming season!"
The first goal is the qualification
A lot shall now change for this season, even if
Colin doesn't know why it wasn't working that well
in the past. "We are training hard! Of course
we are facing some financial problems, like most
of the associations, but we are jumping all year.
On snow, on plastic, we are training hard and the
guys are good", Colin tells and warns of high
expectations. "We move forward step by step
in order to lay a good foundation." The first
goal will be the qualification, then the first competition
round. "Every result within the Top 20 is fantastic!
We have to build it up slowly."
But the new coach has one big dream that he would
love to see coming true already this season: "I
want to win! Just once!" he says. "This
is the dream of every coach and I'll stick to that.
We can do it!" Together with his new assistant
coach, Austrian Robert Treitinger, Gerard Colin
has the chance to lead the French ski jumping team
to a successful next seaon. With a clear goal in
sight, lots of experience and some humor he can
become the successful coach that France has been
At today's Grand Prix in Einsiedeln the French could
not reach their goal of achieving mid-level results,
the places 26 (Vincent Descombes Sevoie) and 33
(Ronan Lamy Chappuis) were not enough to qualify
for the final. But they will have to chance to improve
this already on Friday in their home competition