On another planet. A month after being crowned world champion, Julia Simon confirmed her change of dimension by winning the big Crystal Globe, which rewards the best biathlete of the season for the first time, Saturday March 18 in Oslo. At 26, Julia Simon becomes the first Frenchwoman to lift this trophy since Sandrine Bailly eighteen years ago, the fourth overall after Anne Briand (1995) and Emmanuelle Claret (1996).
“I don’t have the words right now, reacted the biathlon champion. I still have a hard time realizing it. There was a lot at stake, of course I had a little pressure, my legs were a little feverish, but I really tried to concentrate on what I had to do. “I’m someone who finds it hard to let go, I think tomorrow’s race will have to be (the last of the season, a mass start, editor’s note) is over to realize that it’s good, it’s over, continues Simon. There, it starts to become real with everyone talking to me about it. »
The biathlete entered the sprint, the penultimate race of the winter, with a solid lead of 144 points over her last competitor in the big Globe race, the Italian Dorothea Wierer. As she overtook her by finishing fifth, while the latter only finished 23rd, she is definitely out of reach.
A new regularity
Julia Simon, promise of French biathlon, was used to results in sawtooth. In one season, driven by a new regularity in prone shooting which had been lacking until then, the biathlete from Les Saisies scored three victories and ten individual podiums in total in the World Cup. Almost as much as since his first steps in the big leagues in 2017 (4 wins and 11 podiums before the 2022-2023 season). At the Worlds in Oberhof (Germany) in February already, she had given substance to her new status by becoming world champion in the pursuit and bronze medalist in the mass start, her first two individual international podiums.
If we had promised him, “I wouldn’t have believed it at all, she smiled. I saw in the fall that my shooting was stabilizing, that I was shooting better and better. But I never thought I would be able to last a full season. I never thought I could make so many top 6s, get on the podium so many times, I would have found that pretentious! »
However, since she endorsed the yellow bib of leader of the general classification in December in Hochfilzen (Austria), from the fifth individual race of the season (out of 20), Julia Simon has not left it. “On her value, what we know of her, her ability to move on the track, and what I perceived from her shooting, there is nothing surprisingestimated, speaking a few weeks ago to AFP, Marie-Laure Brunet, ex-biathlete who has become a mental trainer who has accompanied Julia Simon since the spring of 2021. Deep down inside, I said to myself this winter “I think she’s going to play the (ranking) general”. »
This French victory is welcome this season. The Blues are out of results, despite Quentin Fillon Maillet’s second place behind the inaccessible Johannes Boe in pursuit on Saturday – only his second individual podium of the winter.