YoAt the moment of victory all disputes were forgotten, at least that's what it seemed from the outside. When Julia Simon crossed the finish line at the Nové Město biathlon field, her teammates Eric Perrot, Quentin Fillon Maillet and Justine Braisaz-Bouchet hugged her, patted her on the shoulder, laughed and congratulated each other on the achievement. achievements of her. That the French mixed relay team won the first gold medal at the World Championships in the Czech Republic and not the Norwegian, as few expected. The fact that Julia Simon, as the last finalist, solved a mishap for her predecessor Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, gave everything an extra special touch.

The two biathletes are currently involved in litigation. In the summer, the French newspaper “L'Équipe” reported that Justine Braisaz-Bouchet had denounced her teammate. The accusation: Simon is said to have misused Braisaz-Bouchet's credit card during a training camp in 2022 and purchased goods worth around 1,600 euros. Simon denied the accusations to the newspaper “Dauphiné Libéré”. She herself is a victim of the situation and has filed a complaint against an unknown person for identity theft. Her name was used without her knowledge.

Investigations are currently underway into the case, which became more explosive this winter. Justine Braisaz-Bouchet missed the preseason. During this time, the Beijing 2022 Olympic mass start champion gave birth to her first child. Meanwhile, Julia Simon won the World Cup overall and became world champion in pursuit. At the beginning of the current season in Sweden, the two athletes, who have known each other for years and come from the same place in Savoy, met again at the World Cup. Simon could not match her performance from the previous season: with four throwing errors she finished in 31st place in the first individual race. It seemed that the 27-year-old, who six months earlier had cleared all the targets regularly and very quickly, was next to herself. Braisaz-Bouchet also needed a small start to her comeback season, but shortly before Christmas she returned to running and gunning among the best in the world, when she won all three individual races at the World Cup in Lenzerheide.

Julia Simon also held her own, winning the first pursuit race of the year and traveling to the World Championships in top form. In both Lenzerheide and Oberhof, the two French women went head to head in the chase and had a quick and cool high five in the finish area. In the Thuringian Forest they led the women's relay team to victory. And now they also triumphed on Wednesday with the men in Nové Město.

“Don't think about anything else for a moment.”

Eric Perrot and Quentin Fillon Maillet had led their team to the medal before Justine Braisaz-Bouchet took over as third runner, but they did not get along at all on the shooting range. After her three reloading cartridges were not enough to hit the five targets, the Frenchwoman had to do a penalty loop, but after a good standing stage and a good run, she managed to give third place to Julia Simon. Despite her disappointment with her own career, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet later thanked her teammates. Because Julia Simon continued with the men's performance, she brought out her rapid shooting skills twice on the shooting range, hit all ten targets without hesitation, and crossed the finish line safely. Not only since this afternoon is she the favorite, along with her compatriot and the Norwegian Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, in all the individual races of the World Cup, which begins with the sprint on Friday (17:20 / ARD and Eurosport) .

Her goal for Nové Město is an individual medal, said Julia Simon, “because that is what counts in a World Cup.” When asked by FAZ how she had managed to mentally process the obstacle-filled start to the season, she said: “I told myself, even after many conversations with the coaches, that this season would be difficult. Therefore, the goal should not be the World Cup in general, but to compete in the World Cup.” That is purely a matter of head, he explained, “for that you have to concentrate 100 percent and not think about anything more for a moment. “the shooting range.”

Private matter between colleagues

After achieving it twice in the mixed relay, he bowed to the crowd, “because I wanted to thank them that, despite the bad weather, so many people came out and supported us so strongly.” At the awards ceremony, the four Frenchmen sang their national anthem together. Shortly afterwards, while the other qualified countries (Norway came second ahead of Sweden) each sat in two-man and two-woman seats at the press conference, Eric Perrot acted as an intermediary between his teammates.

The association told FAZ that neither of the two has currently commented on the litigation. It is a private matter, they want to wait for the investigation and concentrate on the sport. The mood in the team is good. This was also confirmed by an uninvolved French athlete. Although in an interview with ARD in November coach Cyril Burdet spoke of a test for the team, he now stated that the group had “recovered a kind of serenity.” Julia Simon and Justine Braisaz-Bouchet have shown in recent months that two biathletes do not have to be friends to perform at the highest level.