When Julia Simon transformed the 16th place from the Kontiolahti’s Sprint into a Pursuit win, it was an omen for the things to come: she meant business. With third place in the Sprint in Hochfilzen, Julia Simon took the lead in the Total Score standings for the first time in her career and became the first French woman to wear a yellow bib after Justine Braisaz-Bouchet in the same period in the 2017/2018 season. Simon never let go of yellow bib, ending the season as the fourth French woman - after Anne Briand (1994/1995), Emmanuelle Claret (1995/1996) and Sandrine Bailly (2004/2005) to win the BMW IBU World Cup Total Score title. She also won a Gold medal in the Individual at the BMW IBU World Championships Oberhof 2023, her first-ever individual trophy at biathlon's flagships event.
It took Julia Simon two years to finally understand and internalise the teachings of Jean-Paul Giachino, who replaced equally successful Franck Badiou before the start of the 2020/2021 season. Simon performed with 72% accuracy in the prone in her first season under Giachino’s tutoring and 84% last season. In the 2022/2023 season, her accuracy shot to 93%. Her standing shooting percentage went from 81% in the 2020/2021 season to worrying 78% last season and much-improved 85% in 2022/2023. Julia's overall shooting accuracy for the 2022/2023 season was 89%: way higher than her previous best for the season of 81% in 2021/2022.
“I needed two years to fully understand the new technique and I thank Jean-Paul for the patience. I feel my positioning on the shooting mat and triggering of the shot are now automatised. That gives me a lot of self-confidence,” says Simon.
Simon also started to work with Marie Laure Brunet, an ex-French biathlete turned personal coach who won a Bronze in the Pursuit at the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010. Brunet’s approach is to accompany the person (or the group) on the mutually defined path and help them find their resources, performance, and well-being levers.
I put my armour on, show you how strong I am
I put my armour on, I'll show you that I am
I'm unstoppable (from Unstoppable by Sia)
Alongside the team’s fitness coach Cyril Burdet she found new ways to improve her ski speed from -3% to -5% and became one of the fastest in the tracks. She still wants to go faster, though: when asked who - from outside the French team - she would invite to the training camp, she mentioned Anamarija Lampič, a speedster from Slovenia.
Coming from a family of farmers, Julia Simon is deeply connected to nature. She loves working with wood. Julia finds inner peace in carving it. She also sees it as a way to train her focus and patience outside of biathlon. Her working space is a small garage. But, just like in biathlon, her plans are bigger: she will build her own wooden house.