Four years after an ill-timed injury kept her out of the Olympic Games in London, veteran French gymnast Marine Brevet is ready to captain her team in her Olympic debut next month in Rio de Janeiro.
Marine Brevet (France)
Brevet, who was born November 23, 1994, in Viriat, has been a member of the French national team for nine years. She placed first all-around at the 2010 French Championships, and second all-around at the 2011 and 2012 French Championships. Key in helping France qualify a team to the 2012 London Games, she finished 31st all-around in qualifications at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam, where France placed 11th; and 33rd all-around in qualifications at the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo, where France placed 10th. Brevet was fourth all-around at the Olympic test event in early 2012, where France qualified for the Games by virtue of its third-place finish.
In June 2012, a month prior to the London Olympics, Brevet dislocated an elbow. The following year she tore an Achilles' tendon, but recovered and regained her status on the French squad aiming to qualify for the 2016 Rio Games.
Brevet placed fourth all-around at the 2014 French Championships and third all-around at the 2015 French Championships. She earned France's top all-around ranking (32nd in qualifications) at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning, where France finished 13th. Brevet was also France's top all-arounder (29th in qualifications) at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow, where France placed 10th and advanced to the Olympic test event in Rio in April. There, she placed 33rd all-around and seventh on balance beam, and helped France earn a berth to the Rio Games via its fourth-place finish.
Brevet shared her pre-Rio thoughts in this IG Online interview.
IG: This year you have had a lot of success: sixth on beam and floor and a team bronze at the European Championships, and three finals at the World Challenge Cup in Varna. From your perspective, what makes you stronger and more determined than before?
MB: In the previous cycle I was very young and I got an injury before the Olympic Games that deprived me of my dream. Then a year later I ruptured my Achilles' tendon, and I wanted to quit. I was disgusted by gymnastics. At the end of 2013 a new staff came to INSEP (National Institute of Sport, where she trains). I tried, and with the help of my family and my best friend, Kevin Menaldo, who was also at INSEP, I was able to recapture the pleasure of training in gymnastics with a mentality that was very different from before. I take pleasure from each moment of my life as a gymnast. I am no longer "subjected" to training, and I come to training with a smile. I have become very different.
IG: Why didn't you compete at the French Championships last month?
MB: I did not participate in the French Championships so I could rest a little before the final preparation (for Rio). However, I took the risk to allow myself to be passed by my teammates, but I took the risk, and the points I accumulated since the beginning of the year protected me.
IG: Many gymnasts would have decided to retire in circumstances such as the one you faced before London. Where did you find the courage and determination to continue until Rio?
MB: My family, my friends and my coach (Nellu Pop) are the ones who have put me back on the path of gymnastics. I thank them again and again because, thanks to them, I am following it. My family never pushed me and they also lived through my injuries and my character which was not very agreeable during the 2012 Olympic Games. And for courage, you can say that I succeeded to make myself happy.
IG: On your team, there are gymnasts both young and experienced. As the veteran, what role will you play, to assure team spirit and the confidence of all the girls?
MB: I am the oldest on the team, and the captain. The youngest is 15. They have experience at international competitions, but not as much as I have. I show them the way and give them little techniques so the stress won't rise. We are a nice team with a smile. We have a nice cohesion, even with the coach, and this is what gives us our strength.