News / Europe

    Olympic Ski Jumper Mattel Hopes to Replicate Sochi Success

    FILE - Coline Mattel of France makes her competition jump, during the Women's Normal Hill Individual event at the FIS Ski jumping Cup in Sochi, Russia.
    FILE - Coline Mattel of France makes her competition jump, during the Women's Normal Hill Individual event at the FIS Ski jumping Cup in Sochi, Russia.
    Reuters
    French ski jumper Coline Mattel has already enjoyed the winning feeling at Sochi and the 18-year-old hopes to build on her World Cup success on the Russian hill by claiming an Olympic medal.
     
    Over the course of two days in December 2012, Mattel triumphed in one World Cup event on the normal hill and came fourth in another.
     
    She told reporters on the eve of the Feb. 7 - 23 Sochi Games that the experience of winning an event at the Black Sea resort was an advantage.
     
    French ski jumper Coline Mattel attends a presentation in Paris of the French Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Oct. 14, 2013.French ski jumper Coline Mattel attends a presentation in Paris of the French Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Oct. 14, 2013.
    x
    French ski jumper Coline Mattel attends a presentation in Paris of the French Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Oct. 14, 2013.
    French ski jumper Coline Mattel attends a presentation in Paris of the French Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Oct. 14, 2013.
    “Things went well and I think the fact I won gives me confidence, because if I'd come in 35th I'd have been a lot more unsettled arriving here today,” she told a news conference on Thursday.
     
    “It's really a bit of an advantage. When I get on the hill I'll know I've already done well there. It gives me a little bit of confidence.”
     
    Mattel is seventh in the World Cup standings after a series of good recent results and Jacques Gaillard, coach of the French women's team, is confident she will do well.
     
    “We hope at the minimum for a medal and why not the best one? She has the potential for that,” he said.
     
    Mattel, who started jumping at the age of seven, came fourth in the World Championships in 2013 and won bronze in 2011.
     
    She also won the junior World Championship in 2011 and took second place in the 2014 competition held last month.
     
    Mattel, who is 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) tall and weighs 126 pounds (57 kg), sounded confident she could catch 17-year-old Sara Takanashi of Japan, the current World Champion and the runaway World Cup leader.
     
    “At the start of the season she was certainly very, very impressive. She is jumping really well but we're at the Games and I think it's different,” said Mattel.
     
    Coline Mattell of France smiles after her jump during the women's Normal Hill Individual jumping competition at the FIS Nordic Skiing World championships in the northern mountain resort of Predazzo in Val di Fiemme, Feb. 22, 2013.Coline Mattell of France smiles after her jump during the women's Normal Hill Individual jumping competition at the FIS Nordic Skiing World championships in the northern mountain resort of Predazzo in Val di Fiemme, Feb. 22, 2013.
    x
    Coline Mattell of France smiles after her jump during the women's Normal Hill Individual jumping competition at the FIS Nordic Skiing World championships in the northern mountain resort of Predazzo in Val di Fiemme, Feb. 22, 2013.
    Coline Mattell of France smiles after her jump during the women's Normal Hill Individual jumping competition at the FIS Nordic Skiing World championships in the northern mountain resort of Predazzo in Val di Fiemme, Feb. 22, 2013.
    “At events like this she is not unbeatable: I think there are five or six girls who can get close to her and scare her. Over two jumps at the Olympic Games I think the pressure is different for everyone, her included.”
     
    Mattel, who joked the Olympic village is twice the size of the one she lives in the French Alps, dismissed a news report which quoted her as saying she would quit the sport after the Olympics to focus on a career as a theater director.
     
    “I am studying theater and really want to make my career there later but I'm thinking a lot more now about ski jumping,” she said.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora