2022 European Championships – Kevin Mayer had no illusions before the decathlon

His decathlon came to a halt: three weeks after winning world gold, Kevin Mayer failed in his “mission impossible” to double at the European Athletics Championships by giving up in the first event after a muscular alert in his thigh, Monday in Munich (Germany).

Mayer (30) had announced the color before entering the competition. The unprecedented challenge of stringing together two decathlons in three weeks, and ideally world and European gold, was enticing. But he does”won’t take any risks“at the slightest physical alert, he who is used to concentrating on a single decathlon per season and who had been bothered by an Achilles tendon until shortly before the Worlds in Eugene (United States).

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My body has not recoveredhe admitted on Saturday. If I do the 100m and I don’t grimace, normally that’s a very good sign. You have been warned“, had launched the double Olympic vice-champion (2016 and 2021) and double world champion (2017 and 2022). Monday morning, the dreaded grin appeared on Mayer’s face around 60 meters, when he cut his effort A few moments later, he waved to the public at the Munich Olympic Stadium and explained on the track that he had “stopped before injury“.

Kevin Mayer could not properly finish his 100m in Munich.

Credit: Getty Images

One hundredth to decide

In question, a muscle of his left thigh (the great adductor precisely) damaged four months ago during a weight training exercise. “I handled it very well” but “unfortunately, when you do a ‘decaf’ at the level and with the intensity of that of Eugene, it wakes up“, he observes.

I knew it was mission impossiblebelieves the Montpellier player. I gave myself every chance to still have a great time because, regardless of the fears it may generate, regardless of the stress, on the track I have so much fun! I wanted to give myself a chance to get there, I didn’t succeed, it doesn’t matter: I’m world champion, I succeeded in my season, which is unexpected given my injuries..”

A successful season that could have turned sour in the event of a bad decision in the face of the risk of injury. “I had a hundredth to decide: I continue and it can blow up or I stop, he says. At that hundredth, I said to myself: Kev, you’re already world champion, you’re going to struggle during all your holidays instead of resting peacefully. It would have screwed up for the following seasons. That’s really not what I want. It was just a bonus.”

From the moment the objective was not to finish this injured decathlon, there was a good chance that it would happen like thisabounds his trainer Alexandre Bonacorsi. What’s smart of him is that he didn’t go to the point where it broke. It’s clever because in fact, we came to get the icing on the cake. We’ll settle for the cake.”

At some point, you can’t have your eyes bigger than your stomach, you also have to be reasonablecontinues Mayer. There, my Achilles tendon, I don’t feel it, and I stopped before it broke in the adductor, it’s really not a big injury. It really gives me confidence for the next year.”

In the line of sight for the decathlon world record holder, the 2023 Worlds in Budapest and, above all, the 2024 Olympics in Paris. “It’s exceptional for Kevin to attempt a decathlon three weeks later (a first), recalls Bonacorsi. He was attracted by the historical side of the thing but it was not necessary to make silly things. I think he prefers to have this frustration of saying to himself: ‘It could have held but I stopped calmly’ rather than saying to himself: ‘I should not have done it’.”

Mayer: “This silver medal really tastes like gold”

With the abandonment of Mayer, it is one of the main hopes for European gold who flies away for the French delegation in Bavaria, on the first day of competition. And the top step of the continental podium continues to be denied to him: silver medalist in 2014 in Zurich, he had lost all hope after three biting tries from the long jump, second of the ten events, in 2018 in Berlin.

(With AFP)

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