Eric Perrot loves to dream big. Last season the 21-year-old French biathlete made his break-through to the World Cup with an 8th place in sprint, earning him a ticket to the Olympics. This summer, he started to train with the French A-team which has given him more motivation to work towards his goals.
Biathlon family, even at home
For the French youngster, choosing biathlon came easily. At his early years he took on cross country skiing but already at the age of nine he picked biathlon as his sport. His dad, Franck Perrot, is a World Championship medalist who represented France and his mom, Tone Marit Oftedal, is Junior World Champion as well as two-time Norwegian Champion. “I could choose to do what I wanted, and I wanted to do biathlon, so they supported me. That’s why I am here today and not because they were pushing me.”
“I take every tip my parents give me because I think it can be a good way to do things. But I also like to do things my way. I like to do on my feeling and how I feel best. I listen a lot and then I try to find my way after.”
Having roots in two countries which both are big biathlon nations, one can’t help but wonder if choosing to represent France was given.
“I always lived in France so that was an easy choice. But of course, it is two big nations so it would be cool to represent either of them. Now I am going for France, and I won’t change.”
As for his childhood idols, he cannot name just one. “Everyone who is good is an idol for me. Raphaël Poirée, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Martin Fourcade, Johannes Boe… It is fun to race against Johannes who I saw on TV when I was younger. I remember my first World Cup when I saw he started, and I knew I will be racing against him. It was a cool experience.”
Season of the Olympics
After taking part in the IBU Cup and Junior Cup (as well as winning three Junior World Championship medals), Perrot joined the World Cup past season. Even though the season was challenging, it also taught him a lot of lessons. “Sometimes when I am doing well it gives me a push and shows me it is possible to fight against the best of the World. To have the opportunity to go to the Olympics and just see how it is was a really great experience for me. I was happy and proud to see all these things.”
When asked what the biggest takeaway from his season was, the answer is clear.
“For me the biggest difference (between Junior Cup and World Cup) was that the World Cup athletes are so fast everywhere on the track. When I did my first sprint Oestersund, I was like, wow everyone is going so fast, and I had to push myself every second. That is the biggest difference between the junior and senior athletes. I learned a lot this year to compete against the World Cup athletes and I hope it will give me the power and state of mind to be able to push more next year.”
Training with the A team
This summer, Perrot has been training with the A team. The young biathlete feels that “it is a pleasure to train with the A team. I have a lot to learn from them so to be training every day with them inspires me a lot. Of course, I can feel the speed in the trainings. I watch them but I don’t do everything the same. I try to take all the tips and adjust it to my own training. I am hoping this will help me to be better this winter.”
When talking more about his training in the summer it really seems Perrot is wise beyond his years.
“I am training a little bit more this summer. But I take it step by step. If I take too big step, I will be tired and I can’t succeed. I think in the future I will be training as much as the A team, but for now I am still a junior.”
The first test of how the summer training is going was Blink Festival that took place in the beginning of August. It was the first time Perrot was competing as a senior in Sandnes and he felt the difference. “It is hard when I am not succeeding as well as with the juniors, but I have to continue to learn to work. I know I will improve and hopefully to fight for some victories. It will give me a bit more confidence since now I don’t have that much confidence being in the back of the race. It is a great thing to learn.”
Big goals for the future
“I love to dream so I want to say: big goal is to be the best in the world. I want to try to fight for the win in every race. I will continue to work and maybe one day I will be able to live it. For next season I would like to race in the World Championships in Oberhof so I have to be in the top 4 Frenchmen. I want to improve my abilities, to shoot faster, and to sometimes be fighting with the best in the world. It will be tough but fun!”
Mountains, music, and chess
Even though he is training a lot of the time Eric still has time for other hobbies. “I love to do other sports especially in the mountains. I live in Peisey Vallandry which is the the mountain region, and it is a calm place that gives me more energy. I like to play the piano; I am not good, but I am trying. I also like to play chess; it is good mental training.”
Pictures: IBU Photopool, Eric Perrot