Making an Olympic debut is hard enough. But for French figure skater Kévin Aymoz, during the Beijing Winter Games, he’s facing the added pressure of competing in his first Olympics after having his summer wiped out by injury.
After enduring a groin injury known as athletic pubalgia, Aymoz had to spend almost three months avoiding any activity on the ice for fear of aggravating his condition. Then when he was cleared to hit the ice again, he suffered a toe injury that forced him to withdraw from the annual Skate America competition in October.
In an interview with Olympic.com, Aymoz said his time away from the ice made for a difficult summer.
“It was difficult to get past,” he said. “At the start of my training camp, I had to learn a million things again in a short space of time.”
Despite these setbacks, Aymoz’s record of achievements still marks him an athlete to watch in Beijing. He has won five French national titles and took home a bronze medal at the 2019 Grand Prix Final, as well as a silver at the 2019 NHK Trophy.
Off the rink, Aymoz discussed his life as an openly gay figure skater in this past summer’s documentary “Faut Qu’on Parle” (“We Need to Talk”). As one of six athletes in the film, he stated that its purpose was “to help open the conversation about homosexuality in sport.”
Aymoz described his participation as a catharsis:
“As I told the directors: when I first came out, I had put a bandage on a wound. But now with this documentary, talking about it publicly and freeing myself gave me the opportunity to remove the bandage and let the wound breathe. And there’s no wound anymore. It was over. It made me feel good.”
Although Aymoz recalled being nervous the week before the documentary aired, he said he couldn’t stop watching when it aired.
“I was glued to my TV because it was so beautiful. I just cried,” he said.
After an eventful 2021, Aymoz is focusing on January’s European Championships and will then quickly shift gears to the Olympics. In Beijing, he’ll be competing alongside fellow countryman and out gay ice dancer Guillaume Cizeron as part of the French figure skating delegation.
Aymoz said he’s not trying to think too much about it, though admittedly that’s difficult.
“We know that we must prepare for Beijing 2022 but we must not turn the Olympic Games into a mountain,” he said. “I admit that it’s hard not to think about it. I even have a countdown set on my phone.”
That countdown is rapidly approaching zero.