French international gymnastics

It’s a great comeback for Melanie de Jesus dos Santosin several respects.

First, back to the competition. Ago Tokyo Olympics 2020The French artistic gymnastics star did not participate in any international competition. She will be present at the French International Championships, on September 24 and 25, at the Arena de Bercy, just under two years before participating in the Paris 2024at the same Olympic site.

But it’s also the return of DJDS to France, who left to live in the US last May. She is now training in a structure Simone BilesWith her coaches Cecil and Laurent Landy. A transatlantic departure is partly motivated by the desire to succeed at the Olympics at home, but also by a desire for change.

“I want to see something else, other people. This new framework allows me to start from scratch and find my motivation,” Martiniquez said during an exclusive interview with Olympics.com.

DJDS: “I knew I could do more”

This desire for change was felt after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. De Jesus dos Santos declared as one of France’s premier opportunities in artistic gymnastics, he finished the all-around in 10th and the uneven bars in 11th. In the team event, France took sixth place.

The honorable performances of a 21-year-old gymnast, but it’s hard to get Four times European champion (Word in 2018, Floor and Open competition in 2019, Beam in 2021).

“In hindsight, I tell myself that in the first games, things went well. But I was disappointed because I knew I could do more and I couldn’t.”

The good thing is that she knows how to pinpoint the reasons for this sudden inability to deliver the full extent of her talents.

“It’s the first time in my life that I’ve been so nervous because I think a lot was expected of the team, and so am I. It’s something I can’t handle.”

“I discovered a pressure inside me that I had never felt before and I think that is what spoiled my games a little bit.”

“Simon Biles’ golden tour over America helped me let go of that”

The games are over, so we had to make an assessment. And for DJDS, pulling out of the competition was essential.

“I took a big step back because after the games I felt like I was useless,” recalls the Frenchwoman, who will take part in the uneven events in bars, columns and floors at the French Open.

A few weeks later, Olympic quadruple champion Simone Biles invited her to take part in her celebratory tour. A tour around gold in America. An experience of nearly two months in 35 cities in the United States, practicing his passion without aiming to win a medal. Just for show.

“It helped me let go, and have fun in the gym, because it’s rare for me to have fun where I was able to have fun while on the tour. [Toute l’année]We’re really into competition mode while we’re there, dancing, having fun with the crowd and not taking the lead. It allowed me to see how much I loved the gym. »

Melanie de Jesus dos Santos: “In the beginning, I got hurt everywhere”

This withdrawal has been proven to save lives. Then a new beginning followed.

Ten years after she moved from Martinique, where she was born, to Saint-Étienne, to devote herself entirely to the gym with the coaches Eric and Monique Haggard, De Jesus Dos Santos headed to Spring, a suburb of Houston, Texas, to get to World Champions Centerwhere Simone Biles trains.

She joined the historical coaches of the French champion Cecil and Laurent Landywhich I was able to meet during several training courses in the United States.

A big leap across the Atlantic Ocean where a new life awaits.

“It was difficult at first because I don’t know life here. And the language changes, so I have to adapt. In a country you don’t know, with people you don’t know me, adapting is complicated at first. But adapting is my strong point.”

In terms of training, it was also necessary to discover a new framework.

“Here, we started the gym at 7 AM, when it was 9:30 AM in France, and 10:15 AM when we were at school.”

“Physical preparation is not the same either. We do more repetitions without rushing. At first, I hurt all over. I had aches that I didn’t necessarily feel before. But in some exercises, I noticed that they helped me a lot.”

DJDS on Simone Biles: “I admire her mental and physical abilities

In this large gym where club gymnasts mingle with the world’s best professionals, she can also rub shoulders with Simone Biles, considered one of the greatest gymnasts in history. An inspiring presence for DJDS, who praises the many qualities of Biles.

“I admire her mentality, physical ability and ability to work out in the gym,” expresses the French, who will have the opportunity to train with her for about two years, aiming to be at a high level at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games technically and mentally.

“I know I can get into the penalty area, but I don’t want to put pressure on myself because I think that’s why I got to the Olympics so weak. Psychologically, I was ready for the medal and I think that’s a huge pressure for me. So [à Paris], I just want to be the best version of myself, to come up with stronger programs than I was when I was in Tokyo. Then tickle the best. »

But above all, Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos wants to have fun during these games at home.

“I want to enjoy and benefit from these games, because I did not necessarily experience the last Olympics well. It is the Games in Paris, and I think there will be a great atmosphere.”

She will be able to take the temperature this weekend at the Arena Bercy, before the big meeting in Liverpool, during the 2022 Worlds, from October 29 to November 6.

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