The footballers start their Olympic tournament this Thursday against Mexico (10am). The opportunity for them to take their marks in the Olympic Village and discover a world far removed from their daily lives.
5 star hotels are a long way off. The comfort of the training centers and their facilities too. In Tokyo, the French football team merges into the crowd in the Olympic village and mixes with the French delegation.
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“What’s great is that it’s confusing, we live something totally different, comments the goalkeeper of the Blues, Paul Bernardoni. We are in the middle of everyone, incognito, it is a beautiful lesson in ‘humility. There are a multitude of athletes. You eat next to a guy who has three or four Olympic medals and he doesn’t know who you are, you don’t know who he is. There are lots of flags , everyone takes pictures. “
A total change of scenery for the entire France team. “When we compete in our hotel in a tight circle, we don’t see anyone, continues Florian Thauvin. It’s a different experience, it gives freshness and I’m happy to discover that.” In the village, the Blues are housed in the same boat as other sports. Cardboard beds, apartments shared with several people, self in common with the other delegations.
“In football, we are pampered”, remarks Bernardoni
“These are the things that mark, continues Bernardoni. When I go to the weight room I am guided by our preparation. There, we see people who are alone, that impresses me … In football, we are pampered while there athletes prepare for four years for a competition, a fight they may miss. For a football career it’s super rewarding. ” Young players also got caught up in the games. “But there is no Usain Bolt so there will be no photo (with other athletes, editor’s note) for me,” jokes the Nantes resident Randal Kolo Muani.
This is not the only regret for the France team since it will not be able to parade during the opening ceremony due to their trips to several places in the country (matches in Tokyo, Saitama and Yokohama). “We would have liked to participate in the ceremony, confides Lucas Tousart. I watched it when I was little but it does not matter, we will have to go back there to relive it. At the beginning, you think more about doing a World Cup, one Euro but when we realized that we could participate in this event… It’s a culmination to be there. We are very happy to be there even if we cannot enjoy the other disciplines but nothing but ‘being in the Olympic Village and seeing all these sportsmen is a waking dream. “
And Paul Bernardoni intends to make the most of this trip. “We are in an extraordinary country, I did not know but I will go back on vacation, that’s for sure.” While waiting for his next vacation he hopes to extend his stay until August 7, date of the final of the Olympic tournament.