Sunday Funday with… Vincent Defrasne
The life of a professional athlete is full of different restrictions and challenges. One of the most difficult things is being away from the family for long periods of time. Athletes spend much of their time, no matter weekend or holiday, at the training camps and competitions, far from home. But the birth of a child in a biathlon family is a very important event, which not only brings a joy to a parent, but also adds extra energy, strength, and motivation to reach new heights.
Just an Amazing Week
Olympic and World Champion Vincent Defrasne of France experienced that; he shared his very significant moment of life.
“I want to tell about a very special week at the 2007 World Championships in Antholz; just in a few days I became a father for the first time and won my first individual IBU WCH medal.
During that WCH my wife was pregnant and the baby supposed to arrive two or three weeks after the event. But a few days before the competitions my wife called me, at 8 o’clock on Tuesday, and told me: ‘If you want to see your first baby, you need to come!’
So, I decided to move rapidly from Antholz to my home place in France. I wanted to go by car but my coach was very worried about me and proposed that our physiotherapist comes with me. We made a very fast trip and I came home in a very short time. But, unfortunately… I arrived one hour thirty minutes later to see the birth. It was on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday. I was very very happy to see my kid, who was named Ullyse and of course, it was a big, big joy for me.
The next day, on Wednesday, my wife and I decided that I would go back to Antholz to take part in the WCH. I had time to meet my kid, rest a bit and on Friday I took the car again back to Italy. After this long trip, I arrived really tired but I managed to take part in the sprint event the next day, on Saturday. Actually, the race went pretty good and I finished 16th.
During the pursuit, I did even better and managed to move to third place! For me, it was really surprising but very good because I took the Bronze medal, finishing behind Ole Einar Björndalen and Maxim Tchoudov. Just in a few days I became a father for the first time and got the WCH Bronze medal.
Between Tuesday and Friday, I came back to France, went back to Italy; I didn’t sleep at all for two nights as I was so excited because of my kid’s birth, I was very tired from the traveling but at the end of the day, I was just so happy and full of joy that I managed to win this pursuit medal. That week was just amazing!”
Individual Olympic Gold
After making his debut at the 1997 IBU Junior World Championships in Forni Avoltri, Defrasne, over the next 12 seasons achieved great success, highlighted by the three Olympic and six WCH medals. At the 2002 OWG in Salt Lake City, France took the Men’s Relay Bronze medal, matching this result at the 2006 Olympics in Torino.
Torino became a very special place for Defrasne for another reason: he left Italy with one more Olympic medal in the hands! In the pursuit, leaving the start gate with bib 5, he had just two penalties in the final standing stage and crossed the finish line with the Gold medal, just 2.7 seconds ahead Björndalen. A year later, the French star won WCH Bronze in the same discipline, celebrating a birth of his first child with a name of the newborn on his racing suit.
Photos: IBU archive