New Daughter, New Focus for Justine Braisaz-Bouchet

The French team held their first training camp of the season a few weeks ago, but a key person was missing, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet. After sitting out last season anticipating the birth of her first child, daughter Côme, the Olympic Mass Start Gold medalist is easing back into hard training at her own pace, with plans to join the team gatherings in the fall.

“Never stopped training”

Four months after her daughter’s birth, Braisaz-Bouchet sat down recently at the end of a typical busy day for an update about motherhood and biathlon. Although ramping up her training now, she emphasized, “Actually I never stopped training. I managed my training differently due to the pregnancy. I wanted to make it easier to restart. It was my lazy side that kept me training, so it would be easier, and it has worked well. I was skiing in February, walking a lot and now am running, doing normal-type training. Everything went really well. I also did a lot of shooting. It gives me pleasure and during this time, I learned to shoot more simply. That is the feeling that I wanted to catch and bring with me into the summer and new season.”

“In love with my daughter”

As with all new mothers, Braisaz-Bouchet’s life has changed especially in one way. “I would not change anything. I am in love with my daughter. My days are really busy and the daily routine is new. It is quite tough sometimes, managing everything I want to do in a day: caring for my daughter, training, caring for myself. But the love I feel for her is so high and so huge that it gives me some sense of humour for this busy time.”

Continuing about the translation from pure athlete to mother/athlete in that order, “The last four months have been filled with extraordinary days. She is growing so fast. My daily routine has changed. Every other thing I do now has moved to second place; she is the main thing in every day of my new mom’s life. It is a quite cool feeling. She is always smiling and makes me smile; she is such a sweet baby. Côme has taught me a lot of simple things that I can translate into my everyday business.”

“Thinking I really wanted to be back”

Throughout the winter, biathlon was never far from her mind. She was glued to the television on competition days and did some skiing during Christmas with her teammate Anais Chevalier-Bouchet. “ I missed competing a bit but it was a positive missing. It was nice being away from the biathlon circuit, skiing by myself, as far as I wished with no program. It was quite enjoyable. Still, I watched every race, men, women, relays and it was quite emotional. Deep inside myself, I was thinking that I really wanted to be back next winter and be one of them.”

Braisaz-Bouchet was impressed by her younger teammates Sophie Chauveau and Lou Jeanmonnot who stepped up in her absence. “I do not know Sophie well but competing in her hometown at Le Grand Bornand was a huge emotional high that she handled very well. I really appreciate Lou, who is a hard worker; I was really impressed by her ski level. I knew she was a good shooter and I was really pleased to see her on the podium. That was really nice.”

Training Routine

As for preparation for the new season, the 26-year-old admitted, “I am breast-feeding and that takes a lot of time day and night. But I am training twice or one session every day. It depends, I really want to take time and have a good adaptation. I am listening to my body more than before. My husband is a big help; he helps make my day easier, especially with my training sessions.”

Thinking about the mental aspects of being away from the sport for a long time, she added, “I feel like things have changed for me. I am more into the pleasure and the simple things that are important for me. I am not worrying so much about the details anymore.”


This woman who has two Olympic medals and four IBU World Championships medals in her trophy case is quite focused regarding her “comeback” season. “I am very focused on myself and what I want to accomplish in my career. I want to focus on my career and my daughter; giving all that I have for the things that are important to me. Taking everything seriously as well as fun.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Justine Braisaz Bouchet

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