After posting a message on his social networks on Sunday announcing his participation in the European Championships in Munich (August 15-21), Kevin Mayer, brand new decathlon world champion in Eugene (United States), explained his choice by video conference on Monday.
“Kevin, why did you decide to line up for the European Championships?
Decathlon is a fairly difficult sport that requires a lot of recoveries. Before and during that of the Worlds, I did not see myself at all following that of the European Championships. But it turns out that from the second day of recovery, my legs felt pretty good even though I’m still tired from the decathlon. It’s rare that I come out of it so well physically, without any particular tension.
Beyond the fatigue, I said to myself that there are not many European Championships in the next few years and I have never been European champion (2nd in 2014). I’m 30 years old, I want to have fun, it’s a great opportunity. I know the height of the challenge because chaining two decathlons in three weeks in major Championships is rare. And to do the double would be incredible. But I want to prolong the pleasure felt at the World Championships.
The last time you chained two decathlons in one season was in 2016 (Götzis then the Rio Olympics) but there was a 79-day gap between the two. There, we are talking about 21 full days of recovery between the end of the Worlds and the decathlon of Europe which begins on August 15 …
I have never done that. In general, it is difficult to succeed. Given the level in Europe at the moment, we will say that it allows me some counter-performances without saying that I obviously have room, because the level with the Germans and the Estonians is very high. I have my chance to be European champion so I take it.
I’m very relaxed, I’m world champion, I can’t imagine that I’m going to do a second decathlon, but that’s also what’s fun. There is not all this pressure that I usually have playing all my year on a Championship. There is above all the pleasure of being able to re-scratch the track with the jersey of the French team. I don’t want to take away this chance to go have fun in Munich.
“If I feel pain, I will not continue telling myself that I am doing everything for the European title”
You’ve been hurt a lot lately. Aren’t you taking a risk?
The injury, we fear it all the time as soon as we do a decathlon. I was able to come out of a decathlon without injury and that really gives me confidence for Munich. Afterwards, from a nervous point of view, from a physical point of view, it may not be the same juice as I usually have in the Championship. But I am much more prepared from a technical and physical point of view than before the Worlds where I had not done any competition. I have a lot more benchmarks so I approach it with serenity.
Afterwards, I’m definitely venturing into the unknown, I don’t know how my body will react. But I’m not going to take any risks two years from Paris 2024. If I feel any pain, I won’t continue telling myself that I’m doing everything for the European title. But if I embarked on this story, it’s because I have a certain confidence in my body. I know what I can or cannot do. We will have to manage during this decathlon, not give everything all the time to reach the end. It’s nice to get into that mindset of doing two decathlons in three weeks with potentially two gold medals at the end. This is something that excites me a lot.
What has been your program since your return from the United States and how will the next few days unfold until your departure for Germany?
I returned on Tuesday (July 26) evening at my house. I cut until Friday where I did a big aerobic session to oxygenate the legs. It was a little early, I was tired all weekend. And there (Monday)I picked up the points with small sprints. The feelings were good. In terms of training, it’s really going to be practically nothing until Munich. Already as usual, I don’t do much before the Championships, there it will be even less. You just have to rest because the decathlon I just did gave me the best settings to do a second one. »