World champion in individual foil in 2019, but also Olympic team vice-champion in Rio in 2016, the French fencer, artist in his spare time, dreams of a double in Tokyo.
Enzo, finally you will be able to compete in these Olympic Games in Tokyo …
Enzo Lefort: (smile) Yes, there it is, we’ve been looking forward to them for years, and the pandemic has even added another year of waiting.
How did you manage to manage the wait, the various confinements, the absence of competitions?
I didn’t have a lot of time to actually ask myself questions. I have a two-year-old daughter at home and I haven’t really had time to sit down and say to myself: “how am I going to deal with this period of non-activity?” My daughter took care of it very well, believe me (laughs). I have been in just-in-time for a year. And then my coaches knew how to put things in place to get us out of the routine and always keep us focused on the goal.
Your little girl was therefore a kind of blessing so as not to doubt …
Blessing, maybe not, but I always like to see the glass half full. There, I was able to spend a year without competition, so a year close to my daughter without having to travel endlessly to participate in tournaments. I missed it a lot, but I am also very happy to have been able to follow all its small evolutions, like its first steps, its first words, etc … So this context did not make me brood and I found a form of personal and family development.
I quickly tend to get bored, I constantly need something new, to discover new things.
In 2019, you were world champion and you seemed to reach the top in Tokyo in 2020. With this postponement of one year, do you feel even stronger or, on the contrary, has it broken your momentum?
It is true that there is one, we were in full swing, whether it is the group or myself. We were achieving exceptional results, and almost all four of us were on international podiums. There was competition, something very positive was happening in the group. And then this break cut our momentum a bit. When I started again, I didn’t perform but a youngster did, which shows that there is still a group dynamic. For me, it’s gone again and I want to transform all the energy accumulated over the past year into a medal.
Do you have any certainties anyway?
I have training certainties, and I move forward in terms of competition. A bit like everyone else I think. We have all been accommodated in the same boat. So somewhere, I want to tell you that our only certainty is that we don’t know (smile).
Within the France group, others often define you as the artist of the band …
(Laughs) Yeah, that’s something that is part of my personality. I’m not someone who likes to control everything. I like to adapt to different situations, to let myself be carried away… I don’t like anything that is redundant. I quickly tend to get bored, I constantly need something new, to discover new things. And if that makes me an artist, I want to hear it.
You also have other areas of interest, such as photography and this off-piste book devoted to Tokyo precisely …
Yes, I’ve been doing photography for several years. I am also interested in the field of fashion, everything related to the image in fact, to video production. These are areas that are close to my heart and that allow me to clear my mind. High level sport is very demanding, very tiring. We are constantly put in a situation of failure, with the prospect of being able to improve every day. Except that we do not always succeed, hence these multiple and varied failures. Having other areas of interest allows me not to bring my possible frustrations or disappointments home, and to better compartmentalize my professional and personal life.
Have you had the opportunity to talk about your passions with other athletes, such as handball player Luc Abalo for example?
Yes, I was just going to tell you about him (smile). Luc is a bit of a UFO in the world of sport. He paints, takes pictures, he created his brand of clothes… He’s someone who has an entire universe, all his own. And in the field, he is very creative. I think I’m like him, it’s inherent in my personality. Being creative outside of fencing allows me to be creative on the track as well. I hope that one day I could have his prize list (laughs).
What did you particularly like in Tokyo?
From my first visit to Tokyo, in 2013, I immediately fell in love with this city. It takes on something fascinating and paradoxical, with this mix between ancestral culture and cutting-edge technology. It immediately appealed to me. This city has an important place in my fencing career but also in my photographic evolution. Every year when I come back from Tokyo, I am a different man.
This time, given the restrictions to which you will have to comply, you will not be able to enjoy the city like the other times …
My favorite neighborhood is Harajuku, which is the fashion and sneaker haunt. All the buildings are on a human scale there, there are no skyscrapers like in the other districts. It’s really inspiring. And every time I came, I always made my little trip between Shibuya and Harajuku. Unfortunately, that will not be possible this time. But I don’t have any particular frustration. I am a fairly pragmatic person, I adapt. In the end, it’s a pretty good setup because I can focus entirely on my competition.
A competition where you will only aim for gold …
Yes, all for the gold, that’s all I have in mind. When you aim for the stars, you can end up on the moon. After that, participating in the Games is already exceptional. Winning a medal would be even more so. But with all that we have proven in teams and what I have been able to prove in individual, it is certain that I can dream of two gold medals. But after that, it’s all about sport and getting on the podium would also be great.
Do you place the team event and the individual event at the same level?
Yes, totally. The individual is the reward of personal work, and in teams, the emotions are increased tenfold, especially since I have the chance to team up with three real friends. We live very well together and I would really, really, really like to share that with them.
Are you worried that the absence of an audience will take away the magic of these Games?
Yes, I’m afraid that will be a little tasteless. The Games are a moment of sharing between athletes and vis-à-vis the public. It is also the opportunity to interfere in a city, to feel its vibrations to the rhythm of the Games. There, with the very strict sanitary protocol, it will be very different, we will not even have the right to go to town. Club France will be devoid of supporters. It will be really special, but as far as I’m concerned, I’ve already had the chance to experience two Games, so I know the flavor. Now I just want to taste the flavor of a medal.
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