Meeting Gwendal Lepivert (France)
Born in: Saint-Brieuc
Lives in: Bordeaux
Birthdate: September 6th, 1990
Size: 1.80 m
Weight: Officially 69 kg, but 73 kg in reality
Skating since: 1993
Category: Elite Senior
Studies: 2nd year of Marketing technical studies at the Montesquieu University in Bordeaux
Strong points: his determination and his gliding
Points to improve: his winter season, his in-depth general training
Other sports: cycling on road and track, athletics (400m, 200m, 100m), running and of course bodybuilding
The last movie you saw: the last Jason Bourne (but honestly, not a great movie)
Favorite music: C2C, John Mayer, M83, Renaud… listens to anything.
Video games: hardly plays game console
Books: "Way of the peaceful warrior" and "L'étudiant étranger"
Likes: winter time as he can enjoy seeing his friends
Dislikes: winter time when you have to train in the rain (in case Mr. Contin would read this article "Yes I have already trained in the rain!!")
Club: Valence Roller Sport
Best memory: His first world medal in China. But he hopes to get a better memory soon as he is not yet totally satisfied with his world races
Worst memory: His non-selection for the 2011 World Championships because of a fractured collarbone
Spoken languages: French, but when really needed can jabber in English, he is getting better…
Alcohol or fruit juice? Fruit juice, ACE!
Ice or roller-skating? I hope both soon!
Road or track? No preferences
Sprint or Marathon? Marathon obviously ;)
Hard or soft wheels? Soft
Beach or Mountain? Beach
Morning or evening? Evening
Cheese or desert? Desert, Mrs. Schiro's bananoffe pie and crumble are the ones he likes best!
Rap or techno? Rap
Football or rugby? Rugby
Simple or double push? Double
2009: First year in Elite
- French champion of the 200 m and the 300 m
- European Vice-Champion of track relay
- Bronze medal at the World Championships for the 500 m road
- Bronze medal at the European Championships for the 500m track
- Bronze medal at the World Championships for the track relay
- French Champion of the 500 m road
(fractured collarbone after the championships)
- French Champion of the 500 m road
- European Vice-Champion of the 500 m road
- Bronze medal at the World Championships for the 500 m track
- World Vice-Champion of the 500 m road
Hello Gwendal and congratulation for your performances at the last world championships! First of all… at what age did you start skating?
I started skating, or I would rather say I put on my first Fisherprice skates at two and a half. As a kid, I was hyperactive and in order to help my parents to channel that energy, I was orientated towards the only sport that can be started under 5: skating.
The Quintin Roller Club was my very first club, at the time I was under Emile Golhen's direction.
Did speed skating come naturally to you or did you try other disciplines?
The Quintin club had several disciplines: rink hockey, artistic and speed skating. I grew up observing the grown-ups practicing these different sports and I have always been more attracted by speed skating, maybe because of that hyperactivity too. I wanted everything to go fast, and skating too! In seeing skaters such as Sabine Piriou or François Huguen, I never doubted, it was speed skating.
What attracted you in races?
I guess just like any skater, it is the feeling of speed that attracted me the most, but also I have always been attracted by passings and confrontations… It is what brings me to like 500 m and 100 m better than time races.
Have you ever practiced other sports than skating?
In 2010 I started out ice skating, it is the only other sport in which I have ever competed. This year, I plan to take part in a couple of athletics competitions, depending on my coach's approval, but it remains first of all and with no other goal than for my skating preparation.
How did your improvements unfold, did you get good results right away?
Yes, it is true that in 2009 for my first year in Senior, I beame the French Champion on the two time races and got the bronze medal on the 500 m road at the world championships in China. It was quite interesting for an arrival amongst the Elite!
That year, I had the chance to train with Thomas Boucher, a sprinter just like me, and under the advices of Pacal Briand in Nantes (FRA, 44). They pushed me upwards. That year, I climbed the highest step, it had nothing to do with my Junior level anymore.
After that, I steadily kept on improving, and I gained experience above all (which I lacked the first year). And that enabled me to remain at the highest level. I would not say that training brought me up to there, as I am not the best worker (especially when you talk about in-depth and physical training) but I work a lot in analyzing different ways of skating, race situations… And if the situation requires it, I am not afraid of training hard. I have always liked a lot training for the sprint, and I believe it is essential.
Now, I will have to focus on new points (like the above-mentioned in-depth training) if I want to reach a new step again.
It seems that you have reached a stage for a year, how do you explain such improvements?
I think that it is a whole, I started changing my way of apprehending winter time, a harmful period of my preparation. And I think it helped a lot. I had a hard time training at the end of winter because I left the training center structure. But when summer came along, training hard to reach my goals was no problem, I could train up to 3 times a day.
What do you do besides skating?
I am currently in my second year of technical training in marketing at the university or Bordeaux (FRA, 33). This program arranges schedules for high-level athletes, and I only have morning classes! It is an ideal course to succeed in a double goal (sports and studies) and it opens lots of doors for continuing studies.
I like American football a lot but besides sports, I have points of interest such as design, music or even economics and finances.
Have you been inspired by one sportsperson in particular?
I have never been inspired by one sportsperson in particular, I would say that I have been inspired by the talent of the best ones. For example Yann Guyader and his gliding, Thomas Boucher and his vision of the race, Julien Sourisseau and his sacrifice, Joey Mantia and his power, Wei Lin Lo and his aerial skating. But it remains in the skating world.
If I had to talk about my favorite sportsman, without hesitation I would say Mohammed Ali "I’m young, I’m handsome, I’m fast, I’m pretty, and I can’t possibly be beaten". I get a lot of inspiration from that determination.
What are your goals for the coming season?
Since my fractured collarbone I have bet everything on the 2012/2013 year, I have huge goals for this season, I am going to do all my best to become the next French World Champion. But I also want to reach the highest step of the World Games!
Will we see you on ice?
I hope you will, but for now and until June I am devoted to my studies. But I have an Olympic dream too. I still have to discuss it with my entourage, my coach and of course the ice federation. That project requires a high investment, into which I do not want to go alone.
Anything else you want to add?
I take the opportunity to thank the people around me. My family who has always supported me. Thomas Boucher, Pascal Briand and Christelle Bouchet who showed me the way to training and high level.
And last but not least, I have a thought for my sponsor, Bont, which helped me a lot to perform during the end of the season, as well as my new club, Valence Roller Skating.
Useful LinksBy Gwendal Lepivert et Alfathor
Photos: Aurore Schiro