Crisis at the athletics federation: “A common thread is missing”, warns Renaud Lavillenie

A well-defined framework, capable of questioning itself and focused solely on performance. This is what Renaud Lavillenie claims in an interview granted this Thursday to our colleagues from L’Equipe. The pole vault champion, face of French athletics for more than a decade, draws up an alarming observation three years from the 2024 Olympics.

“There is no longer a single person in charge, but several at the same time, with moderately defined functions. We do not really know who does what, when, how, or who to contact. We’re floundering. We athletes are all a bit lost. It generates a lot of inertia and very little efficiency, ”he believes.

In addition to catastrophic results (two medals and no title at the Doha Worlds in 2019, one medal and no title at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021), the FFA is mired in a deeper governance crisis. Latest episode to date: the departure in September of Florian Rousseau, director of high performance who left to join his first love – cycling -, and the non-renewal of Anne Barrois, interim national technical director, who is still waiting for a substitute at the end of an interminable procedure which took the form of a showdown between the FFA and the sports bodies with in particular the National Sports Agency, led by Claude Onesta.

Renaud Lavillenie says he does not want to take part in this balance of power. He also recognizes that the current generation of athletes is not necessarily the most talented for several seasons. Simply, he asks that the instances come out of denial. “It’s not a heresy to say ‘here we are, we did some bullshit, we have to move forward’. The Federation wants to cover everyone a bit but it is not productive. “

This discomfort, the Clermontois discusses it with other sportsmen who, like him, await clarifications for this new season. Maybe sometimes it would take a person punching the table, pointing a direction. A common thread is missing, ”he warns. Pointing out a priority: the terms of qualification for the Eugene Worlds (July 15-24, 2022) and the European Championships in Munich (August 15-21, 2022). “Everyone is going back to training, but you don’t know what sauce you’re going to be eaten in. And Paris 2024 is coming… ”.


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