Getting to know…Lou Jeanmonnot

Lou Jeanmonnot made the jump to the BMW IBU World Cup circuit last season after winning the IBU Cup Total Score the previous year, just a couple of seasons removed from winning the IBU Junior Cup Total Score. Her rookie World Cup season was as successful as expected with two individual podiums, five relay/mixed relay podiums, ten times in the top 10, 89% shooting and when the dust settled, 11th place in the World Cup Total Score. As if anyone needs to tell the French coaches, they have a rising star in their midst.

“Checked every box”

Those impressive results exceeded the 24-year-old’s goals by a big margin. “My coach thought I could get into the top 20 (Total Score). It was a great goal, not easy but also not hard. Getting almost into the top ten with two individual podiums far exceeded my expectations. I checked every box I wanted!”

She has modest goals as training for the 2023/24 season starts, nothing unrealistic. “I would like a win and get into the top 10 in the overall. I made a huge improvement this past season, so if I just keep the same level, that is possible. I do not want too much. As they say, ‘I want to stay grounded.’”

Increased Confidence on Skis

Looking back, Jeanmonnot admitted that she did not learn many lessons. “My season was so great…I think it is easier to learn something when you fail than when you win. I did not expect win so much so there were few lessons. But now I know that I can go really fast on skis. That is something I did not expect. I will try to be more confident about that now because I know I am able to go fast.”

Unlike many biathletes, Jeanmonnot’s sports life did not start on skis. “My first sport was gymnastics…baby gymnastics. My mom saw that I was really not that good at gymnastics, so she took me to the local ski club. I also did some mountain bike competitions. When I was 16, I had to choose between skiing and mountain biking and stopped mountain biking, obviously the correct choice.”

Air rifle to .22 success

In that transition to winter sports, Jeanmonnot found a new love, the shooting range, and is among the top shots in the World Cup, consistently hitting around 90% of her targets. “Every Thursday before I started with the .22 at age 16, I went to the shooting range and shot the air rifle. That was pretty cool because it was a great time with friends…My first biathlon race with the .22 was a great success because I won. At that time in France, you only shot two times prone. I was a great prone shooter, so it was perfect for me!”

“I like the match…on the track…and range”

Jeanmonnot’s shooting skills put her in the pressure-packed leadoff leg for the French women’s relay team last season. “I really like that spot and the pressure when there are a lot of people on the shooting range; a lot of sounds and speed. I think I like the match on the shooting range, also on the track, but mostly on the range. I think it is easier to fight against other people than against yourself.”

Alpine skiing and friends

The long World Cup season took its toll on the Fourcatier resident, very tired and ready for a rest, she put away her xc skis. immediately heading to the Alpine slopes. “I first went Alpine skiing with my friends that I had not seen for a while. I also took a lot of rest at home because I was so tired. I only left on holidays two weeks after the season because I did not want to leave home again. Resting at home was really great!”

That time with friends is one of Jeanmonnot’s ways to step a way from the grind of training and competition. “I like to be with my friends and sister because they are away at school and I do not get to see them very often.” As for other hobbies and distractions, “I like to read, but would like to learn climbing because I really like that a lot.”

Mountain biking and Running

With climbing not yet on her agenda, she admits enjoying two training options. “I really like mountain biking the best. I like to run when I am alone and can go when and where I want. I also like to go on the road bike when I am with the team, but not when I am alone at home.’

Shopping and family time

The French star’s perfect day off from training reveals another passion. “I really like shopping because I am a girl! But shopping is so exhausting because you walk all day. So maybe the best way to spend a day off from training is to stay at home with my dog and family and have a nice meal.”

“I want to be joyful!”

Reflecting on her very successful rookie World Cup season, a relaxing spring and with the new training season now in full swing, Lou Jeanmonnot revealed what might be a couple of the keys to her success as she described herself. “I think I am a bit stubborn, but also determined and most of all I want to be joyful.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Lou Jeanmonnot

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