Former European Athlete of the Year Christophe Lemaitre hopes to put behind him a frustrating summer this year and revisit his former glories in 2018.
The French sprint star, now 27, has announced he will be bidding for triple gold at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships, part of the inaugural multi-sport European Championships (see details below).
“Along with the coaches, we agree that if everything goes well, I can do big things in 2018. The main objective, of course, will be the European Championships in Berlin, aiming for gold on 100m, 200m and 4x100m," Lemaitre told the French website www.sports.fr.
In 2010, he pulled off this memorable three triumphs which contributed to him being voted that year’s European Athlete of the Year award.
He defended his European 100m title in 2012 and took silver in both sprints at the 2014 European Athletics Championships as well as getting the 200m bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
However, several minor injuries derailed his ambitions of challenging for the podium again in London.
"My season was frustrating and I had a lot of injuries that prevented me from having my peak at the World Championships. I missed the final of the 200 by 0.02 (running 20.30 for fourth in his semi) but in Brussels later I improved my season’s best to a level (201.21) which would have allowed me to be in the final,” he lamented.
“The sprints are now very open, perhaps even more so in 200m,” he added, well-aware that in Berlin he will probably face the Turkey’s reigning world champion Ramil Guliyev, in-form Britons Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Adam Gemili as well as possibly Spain’s Bruno Hortelano, the latter determined to defend his 200m title won in 2016 after losing all of 2017 due to a hand injury sustained in a car crash.
Lemaitre though has other things on his mind, including completing his sports management degree in which he has just started his second year.
“I go to college in the morning at a college in Bourget-du-Lac (near Aix-les-Bains). Last year, I was working with the Aix-Maurienne basketball club, which is currently in Pro B (France’s second-tier professional league).
“This year, I will be studying what other options are available to sports people after they finish their career. For my part, I don’t see myself as an elite coach but I do want to stay in the sport.”
However, Lemaitre doesn’t see such a day as being particularly imminent, especially with Berlin looming up on the horizon.
More information on the 2018 European Championships:
- The Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships will be part of the first multi-sport European Championships along with co-hosts Glasgow.
- It will be a must-watch, must-attend experience that elevates the status of European Champions, uniting existing European Championships to celebrate the highest honour in European sport and celebrating the defining moments that create Champions.
- It is the continent’s ultimate multi-sport event, an 11-day celebration of European sport staged every 4 years.
- Seven of Europe’s leading sports (athletics, aquatics, rowing, golf, cycling, gymnastics, triathlon) will be brought together for the first edition.
- The European Athletics Championships in Berlin will be staged 7-12 August. The six other sports will be staged in Glasgow through 2-12 August.
- 4,500 athletes and 52 nations will compete across the seven sports.
- Potential TV audience of over 1 billion with millions more across multiple digital platforms.
- Over half a million spectators expected.