Martin Fourcade: biography
Martin Fourcade is a French biathlete. He is two-time Olympic Champion at the 2014 Sochi games, three-time Olympic Champion at the 2018 Pyeongchang games, the eleven-time World Champion, the first seven-time World Cup winner and the record holder of many biathlon titles.
Childhood and youth
Martin Fourcade was born in the autumn of 1988 in the French District of Céret. The sportsman’s olive-tinted skin has repeatedly raised questions about his nationality until the results of his family tree research appeared on the Internet. The biathlete’s ancestors have been Frenchmen for many generations. There are the mayors of settlements, the Alpini, winemakers among them.
As is often the case with professional athletes, the future Olympic Champion grew up in a family who respected and valued sport. The parents of Martin and his brother Simon were amateur cross-country skiers. However, at first Simon and Martin attended hockey sports club.
Perhaps, Martin would not have become the great biathlete, if not for the distance from the ice hall to Fourcade’s house. The athlete's father said jokingly in an interview that he just did not have time to take his children to the training, so he enrolled the older son, and then the younger one in ski school.
Simon became tired of skiing quickly, and he switched to biathlon. Martin also took the sporting rifle in his hands to keep up with his older brother. A chain of events became the reason for the development of the professional sportsman, the world’s great biathlete. Although the athlete made no secret that sporting success of the family influenced his career.
Martin Fourcade began his sports career in 2002, and already in 2006, the man was a member of the French biathlon team. In 2007, Martin won a bronze medal at the Junior World Championship, although it took a lot of time for Fourcade to win a medal again.
The great French biathlete was rising to prominence while the career of another famous French athlete, Raphaël Poirée, was taking off. Martin did not call Raphaël his idol, and he has surpassed the achievements of the renowned compatriot, demonstrating the continuity of generations in the French biathlon.
In 2017, Poirée said that Fourcade reached the highest point and his results would decline soon. But if the athlete continues to compete, he will do it only with himself. Besides victories, you have to create history and distinctive image to become famous. Martin has succeeded in it because he became famous for his delusion of grandeur and arrogance.
According to Raphaël, the successor has achieved great popularity thanks to Instagram and Facebook, while his generation did not know about the social networks.
For the first time, Martin participated in the World Cup in 2008 (Oslo). The same year, Poirée retired. By the way, the first race was terrible for the future champion because Fourcade finished the 61. Later, placing in the top 30 was his unattainable goal, and many people considered a silver medal in the mass start at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics to be a sensation.
However, there is a saying that the biathlon does not like vanity, and this sport is for mature athletes. The Sochi Olympic champion, Ole Einar Bjørndalen, proved it. Fourcade has taken into consideration these facts and planned a long career.
In the 2010-2011 season, people began to talk seriously about the new star of the French team. Moreover, Fourcade finished 3rd in the Overall World Cup, won several races. He even won one of them showing the typical performance of Einar Bjørndalen. Fourcade missed three times but could outstrip the opponents on the track. Then people began to compare the biathlete with the great Norwegian athlete gradually. In 2012, Fourcade won the Overall World Cup as well as the discipline titles in the sprint and the pursuit.
Three gold medals and a silver medal at the World Championship finally consolidated the status of the French biathlon superstar. In 2013, Fourcade showed remarkable stability, winning the big crystal globe and one more small crystal globe. Besides, the athlete improved shooting significantly and gained additional experience. Therefore, before the start of the Sochi Olympic Games Fourcade was considered to be the main favorite of the competition.
The Winter Olympics in Sochi became the hour of triumph for the Frenchman. Martin won the pursuit race (12.5 km) and the individual race (20 km). After this competition, Fourcade was rightly named the new king of biathlon being behind only the emperor (the nickname of Ole Einar Bjørndalen).
From 3 to 13 March 2016 the first stage of the Biathlon World Cup was held in Holmenkollen, Norway. Fourcade helped the French team to win a gold medal in the mixed relay. The second stage in Pokljuka (Slovenia) brought him three gold medals, and the Frenchman has also shown good results at the competition held in Nové Město (Czech Republic), winning the Overall World Cup.
According to the sportsman, 2016 was the most successful year in his career. The biathlete managed to get the entire collection of globes as well as in 2013.
In March 2017 Martin won the sprint at the stage of the Biathlon World Cup in Kontiolahti, Finland. Thus, the Frenchman broke the record of Norwegian Ole Einar Bjørndalen for the most non-team races won in one season, setting a record for many victories at the World Cup.
The fans of the athlete have noticed that Martin gives the medals of this tournament easily and keeps only the prizes of the Olympics and the World Championships. After the sprint in Khanty-Mansiysk in March 2015, he presented a gold medal to schoolgirl Dasha. Two years later, he gave the medal which he won in the mass start in Annecy.
In 2018 in Finland little Veronica was lucky. Later, the girl's father recalled that the daughter whispered before the race that she hoped that this time the French would not forget about his tradition. When that happened, she could not believe her eyes. Later, the family thanked the athlete on Facebook.
When he won in Finland, Fourcade said in an interview with the media representative that he planned to retire from the professional sport in 2018.
"I have motivation for the next season. But I’m likely to retire after the Winter Olympics in 2018 because it is difficult to keep motivation constantly. I have won a lot, but there comes the point when one wants to discover something different and take advantage of other opportunities", Fourcade said.
The biathlete stated it after participation in the World Cup, which was held in Holmenkollen, Norway. It should be mentioned that Martin’s next performance was not without scandal. The Frenchman was accused of violating the rules. In Norway, Fourcade came to the first shooting range and began preparing for the shooting, but realized that his clip was empty. His coach gave the athlete a full clip, which was prohibited. As a result, the Frenchman won the race.
Then the French biathlete avoided disqualification. The representatives of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) have responded to the incident, saying that Fourcade did not violate the law, because he adapted to the situation.
"The officials have not responded to the first call for help. Fourcade stood up to take the magazine on his own, as it is written in the rules, but the French team coach threw it to him. It was usually not allowed, but the jury decided that Fourcade did everything right, "- the representatives of the IBU wrote on Twitter.
However, other participants of the competition called the incident a biased attitude of the international organization that pretended not to notice the actions of several biathletes.
Many people recalled Martin Fourcade’s behavior at the World Cup in Hochfilzen, Austria. In February 2017 when the Frenchman perform a changeover, he cut off the Russian biathlete, Alexander Loginov. Fourcade tricks caused the falling of the Russian athlete on the ski run. This action was videotaped.
Before the awarding ceremony, the Russian biathletes refused to shake hands with Fourcade, that is why the Frenchman left an honorable pedestal demonstratively. It provoked a storm of criticism of Instagram and other social networks users who condemned him for this behavior. Many biathlon fans said that they had lost all respect for the Frenchman.
Russian biathlete Anton Shipulin, who participated in the race, said at the press conference that Martin Fourcade’s attitude toward Alexander Loginov was a negative perception of the whole Russian team.
"I want to say again that our team is a big family. If anyone offends one of our members, it affects everyone. Martin showed his disgraceful behavior. I hope for a fair fight in the future ", Anton Shipulin said.
Martin Fourcade’s personal life is always in the spotlight of the press. The media reported Frenchman’s numerous love affairs, as well as engagement to one of the famous biathletes. Martin once admitted jokingly that Marie Dorin Habert, his partner in the mixed relay, is like his wife. It was the reason for the rumors about the relationship between the athletes.
Fourcade rarely gives unambiguous answers to the questions of journalists. One day, the Frenchman commented on his victories with the irony natural to him. The biathlete answered the question about his achievements:
" I do not know; perhaps it is a part of my DNA."
It is known that for many years Martin Fourcade has had relationships with the French teacher, Hélène Uzabiaga. The young people met during the teen years at the competition because she also skied. Then they communicated and met again when the athlete was 17 years old, but later Hélène went to study. However, the young people had good relation even then.
Martin Fourcade’s common-law wife gave birth to a daughter, Manon, on September 10, 2015. In March 2017 the second daughter, Inès, was born. Hélène supports the beloved man and helps during competitions.
The biathlete thinks that his desire to be a professional sportsman is a way of self-development, and extensive training program is a useful self-torture. Ironically, there are no biathletes among Martin Fourcade’s idols, but Moroccan runner Hicham El Guerrouj and US swimmer Michael Phelps are examples to follow for the Frenchman.
Perhaps Martin has kept for himself the role of the greatest biathlete. It is known that Fourcade is one of the most famous skiers and biathletes, who does not take drugs, which are not included in the prohibited list.
It should be mentioned that in Vancouver the top five skiers of the classical 30-kilometer distance were the athletes, who used the drugs because they were vital to them. Moreover, many people associated Ole Einar’s long career with ephedrine, a drug that is allowed but has a limited dose. Martin Fourcade has repeatedly stated that he supports a clean sport.
Martin Fourcade now
Martin published a book, "My dream of gold and snow" at the end of 2017. It can be useful for those who are looking for a recipe on how to become the King of Biathlon. Readers have found out about sports secrets as well as how to make money out of victories. Fourcade has made a profit of media relations, communication with sponsors. When the biathlete won the first medals, he already knew how to talk with representatives of brands. Nowadays the company that bears the name of the champion manage his cash flow.
The tall and handsome man with rippling muscles (Martin’s height is 185 cm; the weight is 75 kg) is a coveted prize for advertisers. However, the Frenchman pays attention not to income but the image and form of cooperation. Fourcade has repeatedly said that he would not advertise what he does not like. That is why he does not have an agent, but only a lawyer who would not score points off a customer because he is seduced by the temptation of easy money.
At the Olympics in Pyeongchang Martin was the French team flagbearer. During the competition, the biathlete had to worry. Fourcade’s main rival during the season was Norwegian Johannes Bø. The athlete won 3 gold medals in non-team competitions, and he won the mass start only in photo-finish.
After the Olympics Fourcade had problems due to intestinal infection and a broken pole at the World Cup. However, he set a record for biathlon: the athlete had 22 non-team World Cup podiums in the 2017-2018 season.
The start of a new season was spoiled by the decision of the French Government to levy a tax on athletes’ winnings at the Olympic Games in South Korea. At the same time, the government provided a premium of € 50 thousand for a gold medal, € 20 thousand for a silver medal and € 13 thousand for a bronze medal.
Awards and achievements
- Knight of the National Order of Merit
- Knight of the Legion of Honour
Olympic Games victories:
- 2014 – Sochi (Russia), 12.5 km pursuit
- 2014 – Sochi (Russia), 20 km individual
- 2018 – Pyeongchang, 15 km mass start
- 2018 – Pyeongchang, mixed relay
- 2018 – Pyeongchang, 12.5 km pursuit
World Cups and World Championships victories
- 2011 – Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia), 12.5 km pursuit
- 2012 – Ruhpolding (Germany), 10 km sprint
- 2012 – Ruhpolding (Germany), 12.5 km pursuit
- 2012 – Ruhpolding (Germany), 15 km mass start
- 2013 – Nové Město (Czech Republic), 20 km individual
- 2015 – Kontiolahti (Finland), 20 km individual
- 2016 – Holmenkollen (Norway), mixed relay
- 2016 – Holmenkollen (Norway), 10 km sprint
- 2016 – Holmenkollen (Norway), 12.5 km pursuit
- 2016 – Holmenkollen (Norway), 20 km individual
- 2017 – Hochfilzen (Austria), 12.5 km pursuit
- 2018 – Holmenkollen (Norway), 12.5 km pursuit
- 2018 – Tyumen, 10 km sprint
- 2018 – Tyumen, 12.5 km pursuit