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74OLYMPIC REVIEWMY GAMESParticipating in the Olympic Games really isdifferent to other high level sportscompetitions. Before leaving for a WorldChampionships people would come up to mein thestreet and wish me luck. Before leaving for a Gameshowever, people would say "bring us back a medal",almost as if they were living the Games with me. I had a clear idea of where I wanted to go in mybiathlon career and had plotted the various stages Ineeded in order to get there. I had intended to startwith a Games participation in Salt Lake City, followedby a Games participation with a possible medal chancein Turin and then going for gold in Vancouver. Winningmy first bronze medal in Salt Lake City already put thatplan to pot! It was at the Games in Turin then that Iwon a gold medal in the individual pursuit followed byanother bronze medal in the men's relay. It is a strange and wonderful feeling to be anOlympic champion. I remember meeting AntoineDénériaz two days before my race in Turin andthinking "Wow! He is an Olympic champion!" Two days later I too went on to win an Olympicgold - maybe Antoine gave me the "gold touch"!My race in Turin was quite something. The startingpositions for the individual are determined by thesprint race held a few days earlier. I placed fifth.When asked by journalists if I was disappointed bythat result I said "absolutely not!" I knew I was wellprepared and I was raring to go. The day of the pursuit I was entirely focused onmy race. Everything fell into place on the day and Iknew I had it in me. Sometimes I wonder if a part ofluck helped me win that gold medal but then I lookback and I know that it really was the result of yearsof training and minute preparation. The minutes that follow the race are a blur but themoment was extremely intense. There are a lot ofpeople congratulating you before you are whisked offto a press conference. The medal ceremony later that day was a specialmoment. I was lucky to be on the podium with OleEiner Bjoerndalen and Sven Fischer, two incrediblyimpressive biathletes that I like very much. What wasvery touching was to see that they were bothsincerely pleased that I had won. We have beenfriends for awhile and I have a lot of respect for them. Four years later for the Games in Vancouver I hadthe incredible honour of being the flag bearer for theFrench team at the Opening Ceremony. I thoughtcarefully before accepting the offer as it is notsomething to be taken lightly. I was extremely proud tolead "my" team into the Olympic Games. The most emotional moments for me however at the Olympic Ceremonies are when the Olympicflame is lit to mark the start of the Games and then,two weeks later when it is extinguished. In Vancouver, I remember thinking as the Olympic flame went outthat that was the last time I would live that moment as an athlete.?RightDefrasne skies to gold in the men's individualpursuit event in TurinMYGAMESVINCENTDEFRASNEIN WINNING GOLD IN THE INDIVIDUAL PURSUIT IN 2006, FRENCH BIATHLETE VINCENT DEFRASNEFULFILLED HIS OLYMPIC DREAM. HIS OLYMPIC ACHIEVEMENTS ALSO INCLUDE TWO BRONZE MEDALS AND CARRYING THE FLAG AT THE VANCOUVER OPENING CEREMONYINTERVIEW:KATHLEEN DI GIACOMOSALT LAKE CITY 2002Bronze: Men's RelayTORINO 2006Gold: Men's Pursuit; Bronze: Men's Relay