In turn Fabien Claude, Émilien Jacquelin, Simon Desthieux and Quentin Fillon-Maillet expressed their happiness at getting on the Olympic podium all together.
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Fabien Claude (first French torchbearer): “It’s more than a collective victory. We wondered how it was possible that France had not won a medal at the Games for 16 years. It’s amazing today that we have achieved our goals. We have the palm of the sport with twists. We have all done our job well. It’s easy to say but it’s more complicated to do. We really gave everything for the team and at the end the reward is great. It’s really nice to be able to share this between us. Personally, I really used my experiences since the start of the season as the first torchbearer. The strategy was the right one and I congratulate the coaches for putting us in the best possible position.
Émilien Jacquelin (second French torchbearer): “I invited my partners to meet up, when we are all retired, to watch the men’s relay together at each Olympiad and remember this wonderful moment. I’ve been on this team for four years and I’ve enjoyed it for four years. They have become real friends to me. We are all different but we all get along very well. And this medal symbolizes all these years spent together. That’s why this medal was so important to me. It was necessary to concretize this strong friendship and this beautiful generation. I didn’t want to miss out on a personal level because I wanted to say thank you for all those moments.”
Simon Desthieux (third French torchbearer): “The scenario was atypical again today. Russia was quickly in front while the Norwegians, from the first stint, completed a penalty lap which relegated them quite far. When I saw that during the warm-up, I said to myself that there was a blow to be made vis-à-vis the Norwegians. And then in the end, as so often, it was Johannes Boe who brought them right behind me. He is incredible in this faculty that he has to make up time. Finally, there’s that last shot, with so much emotion on all sides. We see the Russian who opens the door, who hesitates and we say to ourselves that there is a real blow to be made. In the end, it’s nice to finish second. We are very happy because we know the value of this silver medal. These are unique and so intense moments. I experienced the last two Olympic relays without a medal and that was a bit of a pain in the ass. We expect so much from this race for everyone, for all the staff. Today, we caught up with these last Olympics without a medal.
Quentin Fillon-Maillet (last French torchbearer): “I saw my teammates race which was very good. They passed the baton to me in second position, which was great. The Russians had a bit of a lead but it’s biathlon, and in the end the scenario was not what they had hoped for on the last shot. For my part, I felt a lot of tension because I really wanted to share a medal with my friends. I blame myself a bit for not having gone for a last good shot as I had been able to do in recent days. There was a gold medal that was possible even if I don’t know if I could have beaten the Norwegian in the sprint… I want to thank them for this wonderful moment. We have a great understanding in the France team and this medal has a special flavor. And as Émilien (Jacquelin) said, I hope that we will meet again in 30 years to remember this race.
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The silver medal-winning French relay, “the realization of a strong friendship”