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    World champions only speak to each other through lawyers


    Curiosity at the Biathlon World Cup
    World champions only speak to each other through lawyers

    It's about the misuse of credit cards and identity fraud, at least outside of biathlon competitions: At the World Cup, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet and Julia Simon won gold together with the French mixed relay team, even though they have been in a legal dispute for months.

    Justine Braisaz-Bouchet and Julia Simon sang the Marseillaise loudly side by side, but at the joint winners' press conference they preferred to use teammate Eric Perrot as a buffer between them. The two Golden Girls of French biathlon are actually best enemies. There is radio silence between Braisaz-Bouchet and Simon, communication only takes place through lawyers. The two have been in a legal dispute since last summer, which is why Simon was briefly in custody at the end of October.

    Braisaz-Bouchet accused the overall World Cup winner of the previous winter of misusing her credit card for orders and had therefore filed a lawsuit. Simon sees himself as a victim and filed a lawsuit against an unknown person for identity fraud. “My name was used without my knowledge,” she told the newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré in August. The Albertville police released Simon after a few hours, but the investigation is still ongoing.

    During the World Championships in Nove Mesto, both of them no longer want to talk about their private dispute; after the coup in the mixed relay, the focus is entirely on the sprint on Friday (5.20 p.m./ARD and Eurosport). Both are among the top favorites there, after all, the season is going well despite the arguments. Braisaz-Bouchet has already won four races and has worn the yellow jersey in the meantime, while Simon took two victories.

    A “kind of serenity” is back

    “We have to stop associating this affair with sport,” Braisaz-Bouchet demanded in her last public statement on the issue before the start of the season: “This is a private matter that has no place in the team or in my own sporting project .” After Simon had to train alone for a long time away from the team during preparation, the dispute was no longer an issue internally.

    Meanwhile, “the group has found a kind of serenity,” coach Cyril Burdet told the AFP news agency: “Everyone now knows that we are not dealing with a team of girlfriends, but with a real team of competitors who, first and foremost are there to fully express themselves in their sport and to be as competitive as possible.”

    This approach has worked perfectly so far. In addition to the joint World Cup gold in mixed doubles, Braisaz-Bouchet and Simon also achieved a World Cup success with the women's relay this winter. In the singles they celebrated two double victories, each of which was ahead once. It is still unclear who will emerge as the winner from the legal dispute.

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