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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

IJF Olympic Portrait: Catherine Fleury


Cathy’s was a very specific way to prioritise. Everything was managed, from the physical to the technical, as it was for all Olympians, but this thought process of focusing particularly on being able to capitalise on exactly the right moment against any opponent, seems to have been her superpower.I was not thinking about myself even when my body was in pain, I would think about the others knowing that if it was painful for me, it must be worse for them. I had a special energy from that.”“I had a special very physical judo but I worked a lot in ne-waza and I also won a lot with ashi-waza. On top of that I could organise my thoughts within the contests, even amid chaos. In fact, it was even better for me when it was chaotic because I had that special way of thinking; I would be so focused on making my chance. It was that way in all areas; I was better when there was a big challenge with high stakes.I was training harder, I felt that maybe it was more painful for me than for the others. Mentally, whatever could happen in the fight I was focused totally on my chance and I was always confident that I could find that solution to win.Fleury: I’m convinced I became Olympic champion because of who I was. It’s very complex but in my case it was the mental aspect. It was only a really tiny difference but I trained based on who I was and how I analysed judo at that time.In Barcelona, I knew I could be on the podium and had potential but I didn’t think particularly that I would be Olympic champion. Neither of us performed well in the final that day but I was better than her, by just enough. It was decided by hantei, but through the day I had started to think it was possible.I made a statement to myself that although many opponents were stronger than me, I would work and train myself to be sure that during each fight I would make at least one or two moments in which I could throw or score. I had total concentration on the right moments. If I only had ten percent chance to win then I concentrated mainly on that 10%, although I pushed for more, of course.Cathérine Fleury was 1992 Olympic Champion of Barcelona. She had already won the world title in 1989 and was European Champion in that same year. In total she won 3 World medals and 4 European medals and national championships. The Olympic champion, is now an IJF Referee Supervisor and continues to be involved in judo at the highest level.After the medal, it brought peace in me. Maybe before that Olympic Games, it was like some sort of revolution within me, constantly. I would certainly not be the same person without the medal. I wouldn’t be here in this position today.”

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