Road to Rio: Ugo Legrand, Flight: FR2014 – BR2016

Where else is a better place to carry on our reports on the way to Rio than in France? Montpellier is the next city to host the 2014 European Championships which will start in less than 24 days. Olympic Bronze medalist, Ugo Legrand will be one to watch for the home crowd. Is he ready? Furthermore, can he top up his Olympic medal collection in 2016?
Ugo Legrand started judo at age of four in his father's dojo in Normandy at the club called, Grand Quevilly. When Ugo started judo, he had different motivation than 'just' gaining for the mega-event, "Since I was little, I wanted to be World Champion!" - he says. "I always felt different from others because others were dreaming to have a job for example as an astronaut or veterinarian... but I always wanted to be champion of Judo!" - he added, after reflecting back in the past. Clearly, Ugo has a big passion for judo, but is there any other sports he likes? "I am a huge passion for winter sports and extreme sports, I love it!" Ugo has a rich history and a long list of achievements in the judo world. European gold, World silver medal are just few to mention. Ugo explains his number one ambitious right now: "Even thought, I actually won a medal at all the big three championships, I am still keen on winning the gold medal at a World Championships and Olympic Championships! These are the targets I am currently more than excited about!" The French judoka finished the 2012 Olympic qualification period by winning gold at the European Championships in Russia. What was your target at the London 2012 Games? "In London I wanted to be an Olympic champion! I was gutted, but now looking back I am very happy with the bronze medal. It is already a great achievement and it motivates me to go and win gold in Rio." - explains the 2014 Paris GS bronze medalist. Ugo gained his first Olympic medal at a very young age. He was only 23 when he won the bronze medal at the English capital. Every athletes' dream is to win an Olympic gold, or at least a medal. But when it happens it seems unrealistic. How long did it take for you to realise what you have achieved? " That is right, I did not immediately realise that I was an Olympic medalist. It did actually took me a few months before it sink in to me what I just achieved... Winning an Olympic medal is half of my childhood dream, and all of a sudden it has become the reality... it is a magical feeling! Such an achievement as winning an Olympic medal can dramatically change people's life and sometimes can turn them onto the wrong direction, especially at a young age. How did you handle the success at the XXX Olympiad? "I have to say it clearly has not changed my life at all and I have not changed myself either. I kept the same daily life I had before and I even live in the same apartment I used to." - he explains. The French judoka took a long break after the Olympics. How did it feel to come back on the mat after such a long break? Ugo explains the difficulties he was facing on his way back to the IJF tour: "2013 was a very difficult year, it was very difficult to get back into the race after I obtained a medal in London. At the Grand Slam in Paris, I lost in the first round, it was hard. Then I went on with my internship to Mongolia to re-train myself correctly. It followed up with a tournament in Turkey where I hurt so I was out from the European Championships and the Masters. It was hard." Such a battle, and there was not long to go before the 2013 World Championships where Ugo managed to secure a podium place after winning the silver medal. What happened? "During the preparation for the World Championships in France I got injured again on my knee. At that point I thought it was really a year of misfortune for me. I have not had a good preparation at all but it all ended well. I was very pleased!" Ugo's determination seems to be unlimited for the gold in Rio...will he accept less than that? "Rio 2016 is about THE gold medal. That is what I seek and I will fight for it!" What is until then? Ugo: "In 2014, I want to be European Champion at home in Montpellier and World champion too, these are my main targets for this year!" Ugo's three wishes: Enjoy judo, do not get injured and of course, have the Olympic gold around my neck.



Road to Rio: Georgii Zantaraia, Flight: UKR2014 - BR2016

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01/22/2014 | 07:12 pm | in
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01/06/2014 | 03:06 pm | in
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European Judo heroes inducted into IJF Hall of Fame

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German flagship Andy Toelzer retires after World Championships

08/12/2013 | 12:06 pm | in
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Europe leads IJF World Ranking with seven captains

07/30/2013 | 10:40 am | in
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