April 16, 2021

Mathieu Faivre, the rebirth of a pure giantist during a month of February of madness

• Great specialist in giant slalom

Mathieu Faivre is not what you might call a versatile skier. Unlike some, like Alexis Pinturault, capable of shining in both technique and speed, the Niçois is mono-disciplinary. Each season he sets off almost exclusively in giant slalom, of which he has been one of the great specialists since the start of his career. The Isola 2000 skier even won the title of the specialty in 2010 at the age of 19, at the junior championships organized in France, in Chamonix. His style is very different from many competitors on the circuit. Very sober, he has a habit of not making any mark, of carving magnificent curves without forcing, which has long shown in the face of very expressive skiers like the Austrian Marcel Hirscher or Henrik Kristoffersen.

• Several world cup podiums

For its emergence at the highest level, it was not until 2017, when the France team was the densest nation on the world circuit in giant. For his first podium, Mathieu Faivre finished second, behind Alexis Pinturault in Naeba, Japan. Shortly after, he finished third in the finals in Saint-Moritz (Switzerland), thus taking part in the historic French treble, behind the winner Thomas Fanara and Alexis Pinturault.

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Ski Worlds: the unexpected Mathieu Faivre crowned as a giant after his title in parallel, big disillusion for Alexis Pinturault

But it was the following season that the southerner finally managed to raise his arms in the World Cup. After setting the best time in the first round at Val d’Isère in December 2016, Mathieu Faivre confirmed in the second to win his first career victory over l’Oreiller-Killy. In front of the star Marcel Hirscher, then at the top of his art. A season that he finished in second place in the classification of the specialty with three podiums.

• A period of doubts

After two winters when Mathieu Faivre was one of the best giantists on the circuit, the Frenchman had a more complicated period, very poor in results but especially on the podium. In April 2018, the Niçois was even very disappointed with the season he had just lived. “This is absolutely not what I expected. (…) It’s a multitude of little things that made it difficult to have consistency over the season and especially to give the best of myself “, he said in an interview with Nice morning.

Deprived of confidence, he lived through the very complicated Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in 2018. An honorable seventh place, far from his expectations of medals, which will make him crack in the interview. Asked about the good performance of the French in this race, Pinturault 3rd, Fanara 5th and Muffat-Jeandet 6th, he was overwhelmed by bitterness. “I am disgusted with the result, si you knew what i got with collective tug … i’m here for my apple, to do my run. “ An exit far from pleasing the staff of the Blues, who decided to send him back to France before the team event, despite a mea culpa.

• An unexpected rebirth

Despite two podiums in the past two seasons, the Frenchman’s results were still up and down, far from what he has been able to accomplish in the past. This winter, he only made the Top 10 once in six races. But in Cortina d’Ampezzo, her redemption did not come from her favorite discipline. During the parallel giant at the start of the week, he was absolutely not a favorite, he who only had eighth place in the specialty as a better result.

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Alpine skiing Worlds: Mathieu Faivre in gold and Tessa Worley in bronze on the first parallel slalom in history

Alpine skiing Worlds: Mathieu Faivre in gold and Tessa Worley in bronze on the first parallel slalom in history

However, without any pressure on the shoulders, he created a surprise by being particularly stable on the skis to win the first world title awarded in parallel giant. The first world crown of his career! “It’s been four or five years that I haven’t done the seasons that I would like to do, so yes this title is a reward, it relieves me to know that I am capable of producing this kind of ski at such an event “, he said in an interview with The team after his victory.

He has shown it in his discipline. While we were waiting for Alexis Pinturault, ogre of the specialty with four victories this winter, it is the skier of Isola 2000 who confirmed his return to business by showing himself impeccable on the Italian ice of Cortina to win a second medal. world gold. Thanks to this success, Mathieu Faivre has carved out a prominent place in the history of French alpine skiing. He is the first to win two titles in the same championships since Jean-Claude Killy in 1968 in Grenoble … 53 years ago!

• A keen appetite

These two transalpine gold medals have put the skier on a path of greedy. While his only success in the World Cup dates back to the 2016-2017 season, he again climbed to the top of the podium on Sunday February 28, winning in the second giant of Bansko. The day before, on the same track, he had already come close to “winning” by finishing in second place after having set the best time in the first round. The Niçois has proven that he is learning very quickly at the moment. Still the fastest in the initial round on Sunday February 28, he managed the competition to get ahead of everyone after the second run. Behind him, two monsters bickering for the big Crystal Globe: Marco Odermatt and Alexis Pinturault. But it is Mathieu Faivre who is still first.

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Giant of Bansko: Mathieu Faivre takes his revenge, three French in the top 4!

Giant of Bansko: Mathieu Faivre takes his revenge, three French in the top 4!

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