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IG Online Interview: Jim Zona (France)
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International Gymnast Online’s annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this interview with 2015 world championships all-around finalist Jim Zona of France, who looks forward to a peaceful Christmas in the mountains before preparing to qualify for next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

International Gymnast Online’s annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this interview with 2015 world championships all-around finalist Jim Zona of France, who looks forward to a peaceful Christmas in the mountains before preparing to qualify for next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Zona finished 22nd all-around at this fall’s worlds in Glasgow, where the French team placed 10th. The top eight teams in Glasgow earned berths to the Rio Games, but France advanced to the Olympic test event in April, from which four additional teams will qualify for the Games.

Born February 12, 1992, in Dijon, Zona has been a steady member of the French team for the past several years. In 2010, he won the French junior all-around title and placed ninth all-around at the European junior championships in Birmingham.

Zona’s rise in the French senior rankings has been steady. He placed ninth all-around at the 2011 French Championships, fifth all-around at the 2012 French Championships, and third all-around at the 2013 and 2015 French Championships. Also, Zona won the French floor exercise title in 2013, and the French high bar title in 2015.


IG: Looking back on 2015, what are your fondest memories of competition, and why?

JZ: When I think about this past year I feel very happy and proud. I qualified for the European championships in France, which was a big goal for me because a big competition in your country doesn’t happen very often, and I would have been very frustrated not to be part of it. Sadly I did not make the all-around final (ed. note: he was third reserve). I was a little bit injured so it wasn’t a good memory after all, but still, I feel very happy to have been part of this event.


Jim Zona (France)

My greatest memory is for sure the world championships in Glasgow. This summer I did everything I could to get away from my injuries, to get back in good shape. Once my body felt better I could work very hard to Glasgow. This competition was incredible, the arena was so impressive, the organization was perfect and I did pretty well there!

IG: How satisfied were you with your advancement to the all-around final in Glasgow, versus making the team final?

JZ: This was one of my goals, to qualify for Rio with the team and be in the all-around final. First of all, we all feel disappointed with 10th place, but we are ready to get back to work to qualify the French team at the test event in Rio (in April). Personally, I feel of course very happy and proud to have done it. I knew that I needed to do a nearly perfect qualification. Despite the high pressure, I succeeded, and it felt so good. The final was a little bit less good. I made too many mistakes and a fall on my last rotation. I was a little bit tired from the qualification, but it is a great memory for me and a big achievement.

IG: What will it take for you to better your 22nd-place finish in Glasgow, in future all-around finals?

JZ: In order to do better next year I know exactly what I need to do — increase my difficulty scores, and keep good execution at the same time. I know that I can do much harder routines. That’s what I’ve been working on since the return from Glasgow, and hopefully it will pay off soon.

IG: What are your most important goals for 2016?

JZ: This year is a big year! Of course I want to get to the Olympics. In order to do that we need to qualify in April. I also want to get a medal at the European championships, and why not make a final in Rio? I also want to be the French all-around French champion, which is something I’ve never done before and something I deeply want.

IG: The French team will face tough competition at the test event, so what will your team need to earn one of the four spots for the Rio Games there?

JZ: Like I said, we were very sad about our 10th place in Glasgow. We deserved better, in my opinion, but it is gymnastics. All the work that we’ve been doing, unfortunately, didn’t pay off that day. We are already focusing on test event and making it to the top four. We know we have the potential but we also know that other teams are getting stronger every day. We are going to work as hard as we can to have five gymnasts in Rio, which will give me more chances to be in Rio obviously!

IG: How will you be celebrating the holidays?

JZ: I will spend Christmas with my family in Le Mont-Dore, which is in the center of France, in the mountains. I will enjoy those moments which are precious. Especially after what happen in France few weeks ago, we know how important family is. I will spend New Year’s Eve in Paris with some friends, and then I will go to London for a short vacation, before getting back to work very quickly!

External Link: Jim Zona's Official Facebook page

International Gymnast magazine’s coverage of French gymnasts includes:
"French Muse" - Claire Martin story (June 2015)
Arnaud Willig profile (January/February 2014)
"Marseille Magic" - IG’s visit to French training center (March 2013)
Samir Ait Said interview (June 2013)
"Catching up with Elvire Teza" - profile (January/February 2012)
"Uncorked" – Benoit Caranobe interview (April 2009)
"Shooting Star" - Youna Dufournet profile (April 2009)
"Debauve Departs" - Marine Debauve profile (April 2006)
Isabelle Severino cover photo (August/September 2005)
"French Evolution" - feature on Ludivine Furnon in Cirque du Soleil (April 2005)
"A La Mode" – Emilie Lepennec profile (August/September 2004)
"Taking Success in Stride" - Benoit Caranobe profile (May 2004)
"Horse Sense" – Coralie Chacon profile (March 2004)
"Karbanenko Makes It Count" - short profile (February 2003)
"Together Again" - Ludivine Furnon cover photo and profile (January 1999)
"Maree Makes His Move" - Florent Maree chat (July/August 1998)
"C'est La Vie" – Dmitry Karbanenko cover story (May 1998)
"Tempting Teza" – Elvire Teza profile (May 1997)
Elvire Teza cover photo (April 1997)
"Begging to Differ" – Laetitia Begue profile (January 1996)
"Little Elodie Can Win Big" – Elodie Lussac profile (January 1995)
Elodie Lussac cover photo (May 1994)
Elodie Lussac two-page center poster (August/September 1993)

To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

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