Martin Fourcade has been raising his voice against doping for many years. Other athletes have been supporting him in the background, but mostly he's been alone in the limelight – answering questions from the media, engaging in discussions.
– I often felt lonely on this case.
As a boy, he admired cyclist Lance Armstrong who then won Tour de France seven years in a row.
– I really believed he was clean. He was tested a lot. And when we knew that Armstrong used doping many years I felt betrayed as a kid, but also as an athlete. Until that, when people didn't trust me, I would say that I was tested 30 times a year. But that is not an answer, for some people know that now you can cheat and be tested at the same time, Fourcade says.
”Speaking out was my defence”
The fight against doping became his way to rise above suspicion.
– For me, speaking loudly against doping was my defence. Because it was the only thing I could do to show that I am not using doping. If the tests were not enough to show my honesty, speaking out was the only option I had.
The Russian biathlete Aleksandr Loginov was given a two-year ban for doping. In 2017, he was back in the russian national team at the World Championships. This season, Loginov has been better than ever, with one victory in the world cup and several podiums. Fourcade and Swedish biathlete Sebastian Samuelsson have expressed that they don't trust anyone who has been banned for doping. That caused Russian leaders to turn to the International Biathlon Union, claiming harassment.
– He comes back and he took epo before, and he is stronger than before.
– Perhaps I speak too much, but I truly believe that I'm not the only one who doesn't trust him this time. But I was the only one, with Sebastian perhaps, who said it.
”Fighting for what i truly believe in”
Earlier, Fourcade has claimed that he has been receiving death threats. In the interview, he talks about how unfair it feels when, for instance,Russian media calls him a crook for speaking up against doping.
– I never was afraid about telling something when I thought it was important. I was never afraid about losing some energy because I was fighting for something I truly believe in. It's not the case for everyone and I respect that. But on the other side, sometimes I feel hurt when I hear that I am not respectful or I have a lot of anger in me. I should not be the guilty one.