Above all, don’t tell Jean-Claude Killy that he is a legend of French sport at 78: “The legend, her knees hurt, the legend, she stopped skiing thirty years ago”, sweeps away he, with a smile, during a telephone interview with AFP.
“I never saw myself as (a legend)”, assures the triple 1968 Olympic champion, former co-president of the organizing committee of the 1992 Olympics in Albertville and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until 2014 .
QUESTION: The Beijing Olympics will take place without spectators from abroad, does an Olympics under Covid make sense in your opinion?
ANSWER: “We can’t go back, there’s no reason (…) Without spectators, it’s much sadder. Some athletes I talk to, I tell them: + Listen guys, it’s totally incidental, take care of putting yourself in an Olympic bubble and carve your way+. You have to go to the Olympics and take part in them, everything else is not interesting in absolute terms. You must never forget that the Olympics are every four years. For some, he only comes back once, sometimes twice, never ten times.”
Q: Entrusting the organization of these Olympic Games to China is criticized because of the environmental cost, Beijing’s human rights record or China’s lack of tradition in winter sports…
A: “These are the same controversies as in 2008, to a lesser extent. China was then much more locked, closed and mysterious. The IOC was then proud to say: the best way to open up relations, knowledge between the peoples, these are the Olympic Games. This is necessarily still true today, but to a lesser extent, because we know China much better. And then also, because China organized the Games in 2008 that I I found them magnificent. I always base myself on my perception of sport, the service to sport, to the athletes, the love of sport. There was not really an Olympic culture in Sochi and the Russians organized sumptuous Games.
Q: What do you think of the evolution of alpine skiing?
A: “It’s always 70 excited people who all want to win, whether they’re going down a steep slope or not. It was already exactly like that in the days of Toni Sailer in 1956 and 1968. We always have guys on skis Is it going faster? Probably. Is the giant in two runs adequate? I say no, the giant before was a trip, it was the most enduring, they said that the giantist was the skier. the most complete, a giant at the time was 2 min 30 sec. For television, for the show, we did two rounds, it’s still surprising a giant that is less than a minute and that doesn’t shock no one.”
Q: Are you going to follow these Olympics?
A: “I’m going to follow alpine skiing, I’m going to have to set the alarm clock. I’m going to watch biathlon, I’m interested in everything Olympic. I watch curling, because I know the intricacies of curling, it’s not at all ironic, it’s a real headache”.
Q: Many consider you a legend of French sport…
A: “I’ve never seen myself like that. In everyday life, I go to the supermarket, I push my shopping cart, with my cap on my head, where is the legend? It’s fake, it’s an illusion. Believe me, the legend, she has bad knees, the legend, she wears herself out on a rowing machine much faster than twenty years ago, the legend she can’t run down the stairs anymore, the legend, if she eats too much, she doesn’t sleep anymore, the legend, if she drinks too much, it’s over, the legend, she stopped skiing thirty years ago.
Q: Do you miss skiing?
A: “No… I want to tell you, that’s it. I wasn’t a mountaineer, I wasn’t a skier at heart, I was a competitor, someone sick with victory, Not to be clever, but because that was all that interested me.”
Interview by Jérôme RASETTI