Swimming: Camille Lacourt will say goodbye to swimming in Budapest
The icon of French swimming intends to finish his career in Budapest at the 17th FINA World Championships. Not succeeding in gaining an Olympic medal in Rio he decided to stand on the podium again for the very last time in the city where he entered the international forefront of swimming in 2010. The 32-year-old four-time world, five-time European champion backstroker talked about his future plans to Jonathan Cohen, journalist of ffnatation.fr prior to the French national champs of next week qualifying for the World Championships.
– I was planning to retire before Rio already. It happened differently and I didn’t want to retire with a bitter aftertaste that is why I will enter the 50m backstroke at the World Championships in July. I clinched my first European champion medal so the World Champs in summer are quite promising. Just like after the London Olympics I missed out on a few months last year, too, however, this time the primary reason was to prepare my afterlife. I moved to Paris to spend more time with my daughter. Also, I opened a bar where I can continue my civil life afterwards.
Several top athletes „die a little” when finishing their career. It seems you are different in this respect.
I have been dealing with the question „what’s next?” for years now and I consider this change a rebirth rather than a decline. I love challenges, I need new goals. When I signed the rental contract of the bar and got indebted I felt the pressure and adrenaline again... Joking aside, I will never abandon swimming completely. In August I will deal with small kids in a training camp, although I am not very keen on coaching because I find this job too hard. I became famous through swimming and I wish to use this popularity to make people smile. When someone approaches me to ask for a photo or an autograph, he or she will definitely go home with a smile on the face. This is awesome really. It takes me 2 seconds only and I can make people happy. This is also why I participate in joint programmes of the French Federation and UNICEF. I like to use my popularity for a good cause.
Can you anticipate what will happen at 6.30 pm on 30 July in Budapest? You will be a finalist and stand on the starting block for the last time...
If I can make it to the finals, I will definitely feel content. If it was up to me, I would like to enter as early as 6.40 pm. What will I have in mind? I will definitely enjoy the moment to the full and I will thrive to win. I hate failure so I will be a bit disappointed if I don’t win. I have a lot to do till then though. I do not want to rush my last race and I will try not to be overwhelmed by stress. It is also sure that when leaving the pool for the last time I will think about those people, coaches, family and friends who were always there for me, supported me and contributed to where I am now. Once more, for the last time.