Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 5, 2016 – To be in the Olympic Games is a real feat in the eyes of Antonin Rouzier, the opposite player of France men’s national team considered as one of the best of the world at his position.
Now that he is here, his goals are growing bigger and bigger as he is starting to dream of a gold medal.
“You have to think where we were four years ago, it was almost impossible to imagine an Olympic qualification,” says the 29 years-old native. “We didn’t have the status to participate in the tournaments so it was a difficult task for us in each competition.”
“We came from nowhere and now the fans over the world are taking notice of our results and people love our style,” he added.
Their style is very simple: have fun, enjoy the game and play together to get the results as a group, even when those results are less than good.
The task of reaching the Olympics has been a different story as Rouzier compares the road to Rio with a hurdles race. He also praised the current group of French players saying he has been part of many teams but ultimately this the one where he feels the best.
“We have gained experience,” he explained. “Four years ago, Earvin (Ngapeth) was only 21 and he has matured and reached the top. Today we have great players, the best setter in the world in Benjamin Toniutti , the best libero in Jenia Grebennikov, our stabilizer, Kevin Tillie and our coach Laurent Tillie who has been able to manage the different character of this group to create this osmosis between us.”
Personally, Rouzier thinks he is in the best shape of his career and also has attained consistency as a player.
“I have never been stronger and more consistent,” he says. “When I was younger, I was very irregular but throughout the competitions I managed to acquire regularity and the confidence I lacked. Today I am at the peak of my form and ready to assume my responsibilities in these Games.”
Now that he and his teammates are in Rio, their objective is not only to compete but to battle for one of the medals, the gold one if possible.
“We are in Rio and I get chills when I talk about it; it is a dream we are touching with our fingertips,” says the native of Saint-Martin-d’Heres. “For four years we promised to ourselves to reach the Olympics and since then we have won the World League and the European Championship, but the ultimate goal was Rio.”
“Winning a gold medal, that’s the dream of my life as a high-performance athlete,” he said.
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