PROFILE-Olympics-Nordic Combined-Lamy-Chappuis back down to earth


By Julien Pretot

PARIS, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Jason Lamy-Chappuis briefly indulged in the post-Olympic media frenzy after winning a nordic combined gold in 2010, only to be reminded that his sport requires him to be "Usain Bolt and Mo Farah at the same time".

The man from Missoula, Montana, who competes for France, has a pilot's licence and hopes to work for an airline when his career ends.

But he admits he got caught in the whirl of fame after winning the 10-km normal hill event in Vancouver.

"It's easy to surf on the wave of Olympic glory. I experienced that after the Vancouver Games," Lamy-Chappuis told reporters.

"I was invited to the tennis French Open, I followed a Tour de France stage in an official car. Really cool things to do.

"But landing was tough. When I went back to training I was the worst athlete at training and at the end of July (2010) I said 'no' to everything. I had lost two months of preparation."

The Frenchman, who will be his country's flag-bearer in Sochi, eventually made up for lost time and won the 10-km large hill gold medal at the 2011 world championships.

Two years later, he snatched the 10-km normal hill world titles as well as two golds in the team events.

Lamy-Chappuis planned first to become an airline pilot after the Vancouver Olympics, but then after also securing three overall World Cup titles, he felt there was still some excitement left in nordic combined.

"I still enjoy training a lot," he said.

"I still need that mix of excitement, fear and nerves. I'm aiming for the perfect movement. I think I can still improve a lot."

Lamy-Chappuis, 27, is looking for more as he aims for the perfect balance.


"You need to be explosive and light to jump and in the mean time, you must be resistant and have a powerful upper body for the cross country skiing," he said.

In nordic combined, points are scored for style and distance in ski jumping. The points difference after the jump are translated into seconds before the cross-country skiing race, with the leaders after the jump starting first.

"It's like being good on 100 metres and 5,000 metres, or being Usain Bolt and Mo Farah at the same time. We're not going to be as good as the best ski jumpers or as good as the best cross-country skiers but that's what we're aiming for," said Lamy-Chappuis.

Lamy-Chappuis believes he still has a bit of time to achieve his nordic combined goals.

"I could not see myself quit (after Vancouver) because I will have so much time for my second life after I retire," added the Frenchman, who has already clocked 135 flying hours.

In Sochi, he will aim to add a team gold medal to his Vancouver title after he and Sebastien Lacroix claimed the team sprint title at this year's world championships, also winning the team normal hill event with Lacroix, Francois Braud and Maxime Laheurte.

"We may be in an individual sport, we've been training together since we're 13 or 14," he explained.

"We use to spend 60 days together for the pre-season training camps. We're a bunch of friends. I remember that after our world title, we spent the best night. This moment of happiness we shared together was something so strong."

After the first part of the season, Lamy-Chappuis was third overall in the World Cup standings behind German Eric Frenzel and Japan's Akito Watabe, having won two individual victories under his belt. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Tony Goodson)

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