In juniors, Kenten lost against the background of Loginov, Tsvetkov and Johannes Bo. Fourcade admitted that he did not believe in his talent. Kenten comes from a sports family and at the age of 4 he was already skiing, and 10 years later he got acquainted with biathlon.
“We all went skiing, biking, and hiking together. They had picnics and spent the whole day outside. It was a wonderful time, ”he recalled his childhood years.
Now Fillon-Maillet is a stable and cool-headed athlete, one of the best shooters in the elite. But it was not always so. At the debut international tournament, he failed – at the 2011 Youth World Championship he missed 17 times in three personal races (10 of them in the individual race). And in general, Fillon-Maillet never took a single big title in juniors – there is only the gold of the European Championship in the mixed relay and the silver of the relay at the biathlon World Championships.
It seemed that Kenten was not lucky with his rivals
He fell on the talented generation of Russian youth. Maxim Tsvetkov and Alexander Loginov took the junior titles while Fillon-Maillet struggled with shooting. At the Junior World Cup 2013, the Norwegian Johannes Boe joined our guys, but Kenten still had no place on the podium.
The adult debut came in the 2012/13 biathlon season – already in the third race at the IBU Cup, Kenten shot without a miss in the individual race and climbed to 4th line. Although this result turned out to be almost accidental, Fillon-Maillet was looking for stability for a long time. Nevertheless, already in the Olympic season he got to the biathlon World Cup and even ended up among the substitutes in Sochi 2014, but did not spend a single race there.
“I never thought that it would reach such a level (as in Beijing 2022). If someone asked me if he was capable of this, I would answer: no, ”biathlon legend Martin Fourcade later admitted.
Fillon-Maillet added every biathlon season, but not very quickly – he won his first medal at the World Cup in 2015. Then hitting the podium did not become a habit, but was only episodic. He himself knew that he was on the right path: “There is no limit in sports. You can always run faster, shoot better. There is no limit. I don’t believe in fate, I do things.” The next Olympic season turned out to be a turning point and the most difficult one.
Failed Pyeongchang 2018 due to the illness of the girlfriend
When she recovered, made a breakthrough. Fillon-Maillet was preparing for the 2017/18 biathlon season with great ambitions, and at the very first stage in Östersund he climbed the podium twice and looked strong. But he recalls the main start of the four-year period with horror: “I just want to erase the entire Olympics in Pyeongchang from my memory.”
In September 2017, Kenten and his girlfriend Lydie found out she had cancer. “It was the worst day of my life. It was so hard. It changed the whole season. I was no longer thinking about the Olympics, but about my girlfriend surviving.”
Kenten is a fan of biathlon: he makes a rifle himself, and also goes to army training camps
Of course, the love story of Kenten and Lidi is very beautiful and inspiring, but this is not the only reason for success. Fillon-Maillet is an incredibly hard working athlete. The team admires him:
“He gives himself to the sport 200%,” said Emilien Jacquelin. “He is an example of how to work, he works all the time. He always wants to do more,” added Fabien Claude.
And Martin Fourcade, who did not believe in Quentin, changed his mind: “I often noticed that he puts words above actions. Now he puts action first. He has completely mastered the art of biathlon: technically, tactically and physically.”