Fran Garrigós: “I look at my tattoo and I dream of an Olympic medal”

As if he had not been proclaimed champion of Europe for the second time in a row, Fran Garrigós answers the phone in the middle of a study session. “No, no, calm down. So I take the opportunity to disconnect,” he says when asked if he prefers to leave the interview for another time. The man from Mostol, after beating Yanislav Gerchev in someone else’s house, in the European Championships in Bulgaria (April 29), only thinks about his most immediate challenge: an exam for the university course you are taking, CAFYD (Physical Activity and Sports Sciences). “Very happy to have been able to revalidate the title. It was one of the objectives of this season. This year, actually, I am more focused on finishing the race. I have taken enough subjects to be able to finish, because it was the course that was best for me to do it”, he expands with the maturity that, at 27 years old, has given him combining elite sports with studies.

His day to day would exhaust anyone. He could choose other options, but he has always preferred to attend classes in person. When the international championships have not made it impossible, of course. He usually gets up at seven. In the morning, she intersperses the books with physical sessions. “Today, for example, I went to the university from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. In the two free hours, I trained,” he explains. In the afternoon, he studies and, already, he demands himself on the tatami. A strict routine, which does not change even in the days after a second continental gold. “I have celebrated it, but not much. The objective is to finish the race and I am very focused on that,” he repeats over and over again.

For this season, due to the academic demands, he had doubts at the sports level (“I didn’t know if I could have great results”), but he is clearing them up, “waza-ari” after “waza-ari” and “ippon” after “ippon “. In Bulgaria, against a double European medalist whom he had never been able to beat on the old continent (he lost to him in 2017 and 2018), it was a gale. “The truth is that I felt very well. I prefer the security on the tatami more than the result itself. Against Gerchev I had to come out 100%, I had the entire public supporting him…”, he explains. And so he did. To hang a medal that, “because of how difficult the year is”, still has more value than the previous one. “Yes, I think I’m happier,” he relativizes. She already shines along with his other four European medals. Next to the two golds, one silver and two bronzes.

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Fran Garrigós with the best classified in Bulgaria.
@COE_es (Twitter)

A tattoo that hides a dream

His restless character took him to the tatami for the first time and his perseverance justifies his early dreams. At the age of four, his parents enrolled him in the gym. Lee from Mostoles; at ten, Fran was already clear that she wanted an Olympic medal. “At those ages, I wanted to do everything. ‘Let’s see if he gets tired…’, my parents must have thought,” recalls Garrigós, who would get angry on the days he couldn’t get on the tatami. “I have always competed in everything, whether playing football or paddle tennis. I would ask my father if he played judo today or not, and I would get angry when there was no training,” he explains. “I liked it, I saw the Olympic Games and I thought ‘there, that’s where I would like to be and be able to get a medal'”, he concludes.

“I would ask my father if he played judo today or not, and I would get angry when there was no training”

Fran Garrigós, Spanish judoka

For this reason, surely, after participating in Rio 2016, he tattooed the Olympic rings that shine on the right side of his hip. A very personal tattoo that, more than a visual complement, is a work tool. “Instead of for people to see it, I made it so that, every time I see it, I have a clearer idea of ​​where I want to go, where I want to be and get a medal. That’s why I don’t see it. Just to see it myself and know what I train for and why,” he reveals. Paris 2024, well, is already around his head. “All these training sessions, these results… are for this, to arrive in the best possible conditions”, he does not hide. Since Isabel Fernández in Sydney 2000, and after the two golds in Barcelona 92 ​​and two more medals in Athens 96, Spanish judo has been orphaned of Olympic metals. FRan sees himself capable of achieving it, but first, the second objective of this season: the World Championship, from October 6 to 13 in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). In 2014, the Mostoleño, bronze in 2021, was already junior world champion. “If I already did it then… why can’t I do it in the absolute category?”, he argues between laughs. A joke that, in the mouth of a double European champion, makes the intentions clear. The continent is already too small for him.



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