Quentin's Grand Retour: "I am back!"

After the triumphant Olympic season 2021/2022, Quentin Fillon Maillet found the limits of his body. He spent a good year and a half searching for a balance between training and rest and found it just in time to win four medals at the BMW IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto 2024.

With the new coaching team bringing fresh ideas to the team, Quentin feels good about the remaining three weeks in the World Cup and the seasons ahead.

The 2021/2022 season was one of the best by any athlete. How challenging was it for you to recover the emotional and physical energy?

In the 2021/2022 season, I have reached the best shape of my career. I felt I could push my body almost limitlessly and keep my focus week-in-week-out. I felt tired after the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing 2022. But with the Total Score title within my reach, I kept going. 

After the Season’s Finals in Oslo-Holmenkollen, I badly needed a prolonged rest, but I had so many media obligations that I couldn’t stop. After Oslo, I went to Paris for four more days of interviews and sponsors’ events. When I finally returned home, I had no energy left. I took four weeks of Holidays, and in the middle of April 2022, I thought I was ready to start preparing for the new season. The body rejected my idea. I got sick three times in a very short period. The opening weeks of last winter were complicated: I wanted to fight for another Total Score title, but I couldn’t generate the proper power. 

How was last summer?

I started in May but felt very tired in June. I opted for a thorough medical check-up. It turned out that my body was completely exhausted. I needed to readjust my training regime drastically. For the following four months, I had to scale down training units, do only low-intensity workouts, and rest more. The doctor told me to understand the check-up results as a sign that my body was sick and to keep a low-intensity schedule. If not, the problem could extend over one year or more. It was a very bad period for me. 

How did you cope?

I started to accept that the human body’s energy levels are like the battery: you need to recharge it before you can use it again. My start to this season was slow . . . again. Luckily, I got my maximum energy back in time for the World Championships in Nove Mesto.


French men have also introduced a new coaching team before 2023/2024. What was the reasoning behind the change?

The bosses of our Federation asked the athletes after the Olympic 2021/2022 season whether we would like to change the coaching situation. Coming out of the perfect season for me, I saw no reason for any changes. Vincent Vittoz and Patrick Favre have helped me a lot in my career. No one ever doubted their competence. During the 2022/2023 season, the athletes started to feel bored with constantly repeating the same training sessions. Our bosses took the final decision.

What changes have Simon Fourcade and Jean-Pierre Amat implemented?

I competed with Simon for eight years. I know him well as an athlete. But I have never worked with him in the coaching role. I have talked to some junior athletes who have worked with Simon in the past seasons, and they assured me he brought a lot of energy and fresh ideas to the team. So, we decided on Simon. As for Jean-Pierre, he was my shooting coach in my junior years. I knew that he - like Simon - was very competitive and wanted to win. 

How is it going?

The beginning was not smooth. We all made some mistakes. For the new coaches, it wasn’t easy to incorporate my scaled-down training regime into the group plans. Luckily, things started to click just in time for us to start winning medals in Nove Mesto. I have won three in the relays.

What is still missing for you to be at your best level?

Firstly, I kept questioning my energy levels: how far to push? Then, I doubted my shooting. I feel I have found a new balance between training and recovery. My energy is back, shooting accuracy is back.

Some other sports have enough room for athletes to change their roles, to run less in football or do less defence in basketball to start playing shorter points like in tennis.

Biathlon allows no room for redefining your role: you simply need to do the work, ski 10 to 20 kilometres, and shoot 10 to 20 times per competition. How will you structure your regime?

I started to listen very carefully to what my body tells me. When you do that, you realise your body is your expert. Healthy eating and enough rest are the basis of everything. Simon also checks our heart rate every morning and takes that as the information that supports my decisions. 

Can you give us an example?

After the Individual, no one instantly said they wanted to compete in the Single Mixed Relay. The switch to high-paced Single Mixed after you have done 20 kilometres in the Individual is never easy. On top you know, you have one day off and then back-to-back Men’s Relay and Mass Start. I felt my body was ready: I opted to compete in my first-ever Single Mixed Relay at the World Cup/World Championships level. And I won gold!

Header iconBI38 - Quentin Fillon Maillet: Nove Mesto Medals

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