Until my big crash in 2015 I didn't feel like I had to qualified myself for that because it was already my plan. But after that crash I didn't even know if I could pedal as I did before. Even if, quit wasn't an option, I would lied if I said I was confident about it. At the 3rd 2016 World Cup at Papendal, I felt myself again and I new that if the result followed I'll be back to the race to the Olympics.
Can you explain what kind of sacrifices you have to make as a professional BMX racer to be on top of your game all the time?
Manon: There are many but it's worth it. I don't have a normal life. I have to train hard every day and I have a job at the same time so I don't have a lot of time to see my family and my friends, that's the worst part but at least when I spend time with them I really enjoy it. After, you know, I need to be careful with the food, have to say no when « normal friends » party often (even if sometimes I say yes;) ), I have a strict schedule.
How important has your coach been on your road to Rio?
Manon: I had the chance to have my coach with me in the French team. Hopefully because it was not easy all the time. He didn't change when I didn't ride well after my crash and he didn't change when I was good again, he is my mark, he knows me well as a person and as a rider. I am not an easy athlete and he knows how to deal with it. It would have been hard to do it without him by my side.
How did it feel being part of your national Olympic team?
Manon: It was the best experience of my life! I have many friends from other sports and we followed the journey to the Olympics of each other. Being part of the biggest competition of the World with them was magical.
Did you get some social media updates done while you were in Brasil?
Manon: I cut almost all the social media during the Olympics. I had a great support but I didn't wanna add stress. I was only on snapchat to share this fabulous moment with everybody.
After disastrous test events on the Olympic track, what were your thoughts when you saw the colourful track when you arrived at the Games?
Manon: I thought it was pretty but that it was going to be problematic. I needed a lot of time to do the second straight well because I wasn't capable to see the bumps. It added a lot of stress. It was a shame they didn't think about that and to build a better first corner as we asked after the test event.
How much practice did you get on the track before racing started and was it enough?
Manon: I had many hopefully! And it was enough to know the track well.
How tight was security in Rio?
Manon: I felt safe but maybe not perfect.
Did it feel special being in one place with so many top athletes (from different sports) at the same time?
Manon: Really special yes but we were almost at the end so I didn't have time to think about it or to see one of the « famous athletes ».
Were you happy with your results?
Manon: I am. I didn't have the form I wanted for many reasons but my goal was to give the best of me and to take the risks I had to take. I think I did it.
Do you have a moment during the race where you wish you had made a different choice?
Manon: Well maybe. I decided to jump the triple at the last moment and unfortunately I pedaled too far and I wasn't capable to pull correctly. I don't regret it but I wonder what would have happened if I did it correctly or jumped only the first part.
Who were your picks for the gold one week before the race (men/women)?
Manon: I really din't think about it. At the olympics, I think everybody is like not the same person and everybody could win.
Ever since you made it back home, have things changed much after the games?
Manon: More people know about BMX and that's great! Some people even recognize me haha!
Did you do any special appearances back home as an Olympian?
Manon: The special one was when I visited my island, Guadeloupe. Looks like I inspired some of them, I feel blessed.
Are you going to put all the effort into it again to do it all over in Tokyo 2020?
Manon: I already planned the next 4 years to improve my level and to help BMX to have the place it deserves in France. Sure, I'll be there.
Last words: I want to thank my family, friends and my coach JC Tricard whom deal with who I am, they highlight the best which there is in me. I cannot thank enough my French staff, they saved my foot after my crash in 2015, it felt like a second family with them. The support of my sponsors: SUNN, BOX, 100%, Alltricks, my club Stade Bordelais ASPTT, Marie Jade, Eiffage Construction, SAPerformance. Thanks to my city Valréas, my island Guadeloupe. Thanks to the French Olympic team and everybody which support me. Thank you Bart for this nice interview.