Article in the written edition of L'Equipe.
When Gailhaguet attacks the coaches
According to the president of the French Federation, the evils often come from the coaches. And his words can be violent.
At the end of the figure skating World championships in London, medal-free for France, Didier Gailhaguet blamed "the people who were coaching" his athletes. As often happens, the president of the French Federation used harsh terms, writing about Pasquale Camerlengo [...blabla, even though Bourzat was injured, blabla...] that the italian had been a "worm" (litteraly "a larva").
He has never been soft with technicians and it's weighting upon the current atmosphere. Architect of Alexis Contin's world titles in roller skating then of his progress on ice, Alain Nègre was called a "guru" last year, and a "clown" this winter, since that civil servant / middle manager executive refused to work full-time for the FFSG.
"It's a habit to be told that you're incompetent", Didier Lucine scowls. Coach of the Annecy club, he (Lucine) has witnessed a year of roundtrips of the DTN Xavier Sendra to incite one of his best skaters, Lénaëlle Gilleron-Gory, to join the INSEP (note from me : Paris Sport Institute which is the base for skaters training in Bercy and Champigny). An incitement accompanied by threats about a possible qualification for the Olympic Games if the girl - minor - didn't comply. To the mail sent by the club to protest against that attitude, the DTN answered that "it didn't grab his attention" and signed with this disdainful salutation : "I ask you to believe in the expression of my profound tiredness" (note from me : traditional french salutation with a twist).
Even if her decency invites her to keep quiet, Muriel Zazoui also suffers from that ostracism. In spite of her past record [...], she observes the regular settlement of her protégés abroad [...] : "the Federation promises to pay everything if they leave Lyon, and to cut any support if they stay".
Another note from me : if you wonder what the DTN is, that's an ex-good-sportsman become civil servant that the french government lend to sport federations (which are for the most part small non for-profit structures) to help organize high level sport (the current one comes from scuba diving, Gailhaguet prefered him over a guy who was already a member of the FFSG). Gailhaguet has always used the guy in this position to do the dirty work for him (or when he was out of office, as a target to attack the new president). DTNs usually stay no longer than a year or two. After that period, they know people and situations better and may start to ask questions. And they are always credited with bad results at Olys. Under Gailhaguet, the position has been a mix of henchman and scapegoat.
I love how Gailhaguet knows how to improve the mood one year ahead of the Olympics.
He blames every independent decision of the athletes and totally ignores the negative outcome of the decisions he pushed for.
If only he could plug the french skaters with a wireless remote control system and decide everything, it would be sooooo much better.