INTERVIEW - JULIEN LIZEROUX
It became official on Monday 1 July 2013. Julien Lizeroux is back in the Fischer family. The French Slalom specialist was already with Fischer skis from 2004 to 2008 and will once again be placing his trust in the proven equipment for the next season.
The last World Cup race you took part in was in January 2011, are you looking forward to the upcoming season?
Of course, it was such a long pause…. 2 years without any races is something very complicated to handle! But I never lose faith and motivation. I’m now back in full training and I will have the whole summer to prepare and to be ready for Levi’s slalom. I love skiing so I want to end my career on a positive note.
How is your knee at the moment and how did you spend the last winter so that you could prepare yourself best for the strenuous World Cup season once again?
My knee is getting better day by day. I can do more and more things everyday and the pain is easing off. If someone had told me one year ago that I would be able to play football and to run in the mountains again, I would have accepted it right away. With passion and motivation you can push your limits. I have a really strong team around me, and this is very important. I still have to be patient and listen to my body.
I managed to work step-by-step and to do some races at the end of the 2013 winter to see my level. Now I have to organise my preparation for the upcoming season.
How did it feel, after almost 20 months of not being in ski boots, you got back on skis again?
I was back on skis in December 2012 – the first time after more than 650 days away from the slopes. It was a lot of fun to slide again, to hear the snow under my skis. But it was just a first step on my comeback in the World Cup Tour. I did a lot of freeskiing and I had to be careful not to push my knee too much.
Why did you decide in favour of Fischer – what was the deciding factor in changing your equipment sponsor?
As I wanted to have the best Slalom skis and I wanted the best team to end my career, Fischer had the perfect spirit and equipment for my project. I was in touch with Siegi Voglreiter (I skied on Fischer from 2004 to 2008) and we were thinking along the same lines. So here it is, I’m back in the Fischer Alpine Ski Racing Team.
You are now back together again with your service man Loic Brun and your training partner Jean-Baptiste Grange.Did these two people also play a part in you changing to Fischer?
They played a huge part in my decision: JB is a really good friend of mine and an incredible skier. Loic was my service man for 4 years when I was on Dynastar, so we are now all back together to achieve our goals. Skis are very important, but service is just as important as technical material.
What can we expect to see from you in the 13|14 season?
I have absolutely no idea. The only thing I know is that I will give 100% to be in a World Cup race and then make the second run. After that, everything is possible…
In the 11|12 season you got to know the World Cup from the point of view of the media – you were a TV commentator.Do you now see the World Cup through different eyes?
Yes, I already did it when I was injured in 2002 and 2005. I was the biggest supporter of all my teammates and friends. I tried to bring my own experience to all the TV spectators.
It was also a really good experience to watch races live on the slopes. You can see small details which make the difference. It also gave me a lot more motivation to come back to the starting gate. I miss racing!
You are a member of the FIS Athletes' Commission elected for 2013 to 2015 – what will be the focal points of your work and what do you want to make happen?
I think athletes should be in the main line of all decisions regarding World Cup rules. The FIS doesn’t listen “enough” to our voice and I’d like this to change.
I also think that we will have more influence if we become united. Skiing can become boring on TV at times and it would be nice to progress in the modern way of professional sport for the athletes and all the Fans around the world. I just want fair rules, fair slopes, fair spirit and then all skiers can compete!
If a skier has a lot of fun skiing, so does everyone else!!! (coaches, spectators, etc.)
If I can get this message across to the FIS executive board, I will be happy!
According to the athletes the hills are becoming more and more extreme and icier. How do you see this situation, also with regard to the equipment requirements/rulings?
I don’t agree with that. We have skied on the same slopes for decades, but we have to adapt ourselves to the weather forecast. One day it is so icy and then two days' later we are skiing on salt snow. It is very difficult for the organisers to stick to one kind of snow. The most difficult thing is finding the same conditions on training slopes, warm-up slopes and race slopes! Not only in terms of safety but also with regard to equipment adjustments. Only a few skiers in the world manage to master the new GS skis because, especially on difficult snow conditions, they are very difficult to handle! So I think we have to work on that, all of us together: FIS, coaches, athletes to promote skiing and to make it more fun!