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Home News Paul Vieuxtemps: From Thailand to Winter Podium in America

Paul Vieuxtemps: From Thailand to Winter Podium in America

Winter Games 22 January 2023

The Thai flag is not the most commonly raised during winter sporting events, but it fluttered twice at the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games thanks to one special athlete: Paul Vieuxtemps.

The 23-year-old freestyle skier shared his feelings – and his unique story – after securing a pair of medals at Gore Mountain, silver in big air and bronze in slopestyle.

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“I’m very glad I have won two medals for Thailand. They are my first ones at the international level, and the first ever for the country at FISU Winter Games. This is extremely cool.”

The Grenoble Alpes University student explained his journey all the way to the Games.

“I live in France but I have both French and Thai nationalities thanks to my mother. I entered two World Cups with Thailand. They were happy with my performances and wanted to keep collaborating with me.”

Being the star of one of the smallest delegations at this competition – Thailand has only seven athletes competing – can also present challenges, but nothing that Vieuxtemps’ calm and serenity can’t overcome.

“You should not put too much pressure on yourself, otherwise you get paralyzed and cannot act upon it or ride properly,” he explains.

As a high-performance athlete, Vieuxtemps spends most of his time away from home, in various countries.

“I love travelling all around the world for competitions. It is maybe sometimes more challenging for classes and studies, especially now that I have these two medals. It’s impossible to be focused on school now,” he says with a laugh.

The freestyler really made the most of his time in New York State, enjoying the venues at Gore Mountain which brought him good luck… and two medals.

“It’s not too big of a resort (laughs). The jumps are not that big, but they are still nice to ride on, the work here has been well done.

“The rails however are amazing, they do not leave us room for any mistake because they’re close to each other, but they are really enjoyable.”

Vieuxtemps also opened up about his daily life, and the way he builds his ski season throughout the whole year.

“The competition season basically ends mid-April. In May and June, it is still nice. I have a lot of indoor training to do, added to the work at the gym and on trampolines. But then the ski starts again, I can enjoy the airbags in Switzerland. Basically, I ski almost all year long.”

Unfortunately, his busy schedule will prevent the double medallist from attending the Lake Placid 2023 closing ceremony.

“I wish I had been able to be here until the end, but I’m leaving for Canada to film some street-freestyle for ten days.”

In the community of freestyle athletes, being able to post some visual is essential to sponsors and for making a living out of this passion.

But this trip up north will not prevent Vieuxtemps from soon competing at the international level again, as he hopes to enter World Cup events at the end of the 2023 season.

“I sure hope to perform as well as in Lake Placid”, he joked before addressing a message to all his fans and people who may have discovered him during the FISU Games.

“Thank you again for the amazing support… and follow me on my Instagram @guccipol!”

By Louis Gilles, FISU Young Reporter