French ambitions in Vancouver
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As the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics gets underway, team France rests its hopes on the likes of Julien Lizeroux (pictured) in the Slalom. Here is a look at the main potential medallists.
France’s Skiing Federation counts on a team of young talent to harvest gold in Vancouver even without the injured ski star Jean-Baptiste Grange. Silver medallists at the Val d’Isere World Cup, Julien Lizeroux and Sandrine Aubert are France’s best hopes at this Olympics. Another potential is Tessa Worley, winner at the Giant Slalom in Are (Sweden) last December. Jacquemod, Clarey, Barioz, Richard and Marchand-Arvier are also contenders with a shot at winning.
Doubts on ice
Although the biathlon team comes without Olympic experience, they showed their mettle at the South Korean World Cup last year by winning four medals including one gold. Meanwhile, cross-country skiers Vincent Vittoz and Jean-Marc Gaillard will want to show that they arte still at the top of their game. There is also Nordic combined (cross country skiing and ski jumping) specialist Jason Lamy Chappuis who comes to the Olympics in good form.
The chances of French victory on the ice are slim. Brian Joubert is the only hope for a medal. However, he comes to the Games carrying an injury which has forced him to cut back on training. At the last European championships, he finished third. The event was dominated by his main opponent, the flamboyant Evgeni Plushenko.
Experience as a goal
After Joubert, the French ice-skating federation can count on 2008 World champions Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder. Delobel’s pregnancy shortened their preparation but pair will be keen to avenge their bitter 4th placing at the Turin Olympics in 2006.
These aside, France will need a miracle for another medal on ice. On the short-track, Thibault Fauconnet will be a contender alongside Alexis Contin in the 10,000m. The French curling team will be praying for a bronze. For the rest, the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton teams among them, gaining experience will be key as winning a medal will be out of reach. The French ice-hockey team won’t have that luxury as Christobal Huet’s teammates failed to qualify.
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