© Reichert / Nordic Focus
"WHO DARE WINS"
When you love biathlon, you love the drama inherent in the sport, the comeback from improbable situations, the mano a mano combat during the final shots, the mad pace of quick-fire bullets flying through the air, the game with the public... So, of course we love Emilien Jacquelin!
The attack and the show!
The Frenchman grew up in the Vercors region where Nordic skiing is a collective endeavour. Initially destined for a career in cross-country skiing (he was French champion at age 15), he then discovered biathlon with his brothers. Despite being a poor marksman, he challenged himself to reverse this trend. And did it rather well! It has to be said that Emilien Jacquelin isn't the type to do things by halves. Not when it comes to sport, nor in his other passions of music and photography.
The man who's sometimes nicknamed the "Lucky Luke" of biathlon is an aggressive player. An instinctive skier. So no wonder that his two favorite race formats are the pursuit and mass-start. Jostling for position with others, being on the attack – he loves it all. A way for him to express his tactical expertise. So no wonder again when you know that his other favorite sport is cycling and his idols are Pantani, Nibali and Pinot. Biking is also a real need for Emilien who racks up the miles during his summer training, whether on a gravel road trip with friends or on L'Etape du Tour.
© Manzoni / Nordic Focus
Everything for the win
Emilien Jacquelin doesn't hide it either: he likes to win, to be ahead of the game, to have the race in hand. This is no doubt what allows him to outperform at big events. In one-day races, for example, it's as if his brain only allows his instincts to do the talking. Risk-taking becomes genius, and nothing can withstand him.
As in the 2020 World Championships in Anthloz-Anterselva. After the final shoot and a final crazy lap, he won the sprint against one of the icons in the sport, Norwegian Johannes Boe, to become pursuit World Champion. This was his first victory at the highest level, and the first revelation of his incredible panache. He repeated the feat the following year in 2021 in Polkjuka, once again in the pursuit.
But when you hope to one day win the Crystal Globe for the overall standings, flashes of brilliance aren't enough. The equation isn't simple, but can be boiled down to a choice between love and duty. How do you improve your consistency while moderating your "risk everything" attitude? How do you keep having fun while gaining more control over things? This is no doubt his greatest challenge. The man from Villard-de-Lans has succeeded at all the others, so why should this one be any different?
© Manzoni / Nordic Focus