Exceptional World Championships for French women’s biathlon in general, and for Justine Braisaz Bouchet in particular

Tuesday, 20 february 2024

With 13 medals, the French biathlon team, supported by the Caisse d’Epargne Rhône Alpes, put up an exceptional performance at the World Championships, especially the women’s team who won six medals. Young mother Justine Braisaz Bouchet, a member of the TEAM SKI Caisse d’Epargne Rhône Alpes, played a large part in this success.

An historic achievement

The French biathlon team, winning 13 medals and taking first place in the medal rankings, had an incredible World Championships in the Czech Republic. Until now, success in championships was largely thanks to the men but, this time, it was the women that took French biathlon to the top of the podium.  

The performance achieved at Nové Město by the women’s biathlon team will go down in the annals of French sporting legend. The women in the French national team supported by the Caisse d’Epargne Rhône Alpes won, or took part in, 11 medals and 6 titles (including 3 relays with the men). This represents a unique exploit in the history of this sport in France!
First came victory in the mixed relay (a virtually routine achievement for the French team!)… but what truly impressed the public during these World Championships was the historic quadruple victory by the women coached by Savoyard Cyril Burdet in the sprint event, not to mention the first-ever TOP 15 finish by young Jeanne Richard, a biathlete also supported on an individual basis by the Caisse d’Epargne Rhône Alpes.  

Following their immense success in the sprint, the French women’s team moved on to the pursuit event with, this time, two French women finishing on the podium, and Justine Braisaz Bouchet again taking bronze… This was followed by the title in the individual mixed relay, another women’s medal in the individual 15km race and, finally, the world title in the women’s relay, the first ever to grace the annals of French biathlon at the World Championship level(1). Finally, to round off this collective success achieved by the French women, Justine Braisaz Bouchet put up a tremendous skiing performance to win the mass start event, as she did at the last Olympic Games.  

This was a runaway success not only for the biathletes, but also for the French Ski Federation, the staff in general, and the coach Cyril Burdet in particular! For years, French biathlon has achieved brilliant results thanks to its male champions; now it’s also time for France’s female champions to shine… including Justine Braisaz Bouchet!  

One year on… in Justine Braisaz Bouchet’s busy agenda 

Of course, she’s not the first; other female champions have returned to the highest level in their sport after becoming mothers. It would be good if this were to become the norm in women’s sport. But Justine Braisaz Bouchet, supported by the Caisse d’Epargne Rhône Alpes, is leading the way. She has made a remarkable return to competitions and, above all, has continued on this upward slope within a unified group perfectly in sync with these World Championships.  

To get a better idea of her performance, we need to look back at Justine’s busy agenda. On February 18, 2022, she won the mass start at the Beijing Olympic Games, the 2nd individual Olympic medal for French women’s biathlon, but one that set the ball rolling. On September 2 of the same year, Justine announced that she was pregnant and would therefore not be competing in the coming season (she had told us as much in an inspiring interview). She subsequently gave birth to her child on February 3, 2023.  

In November 2023, she won a mixed relay with the French team and, in December, was back on the individual podium. A few days later, in an unprecedented feat, she won all three individual events at the World Cup stage in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. And then, in Nové Město, a year after giving birth, she achieved with her French team-mates the finest world championship results ever in the history of French biathlon! And, even better, in the final event, the mass start, she came out on top, thanks to her skiing skills but also thanks to the shooting technique she had perfected during her pregnancy. She enjoyed the same triumph as at the Olympic Games…  

Her achievement stands as a powerful symbol and, undoubtedly, is a source of inspiration for many young women.  

Among the various partnerships it has developed, the Caisse d’Epargne Rhône Alpes has put together a ‘squad’ of around ten champions from the French ski and snowboard teams, including Justine Braisaz Bouchet and Jeanne Richard. Together, they uphold the colors of French skiing and of their region, and carry our hopes for future medals in international competitions. 
(1) The French women’s biathlon relay team won the relay at the 1992 Albertville Olympics. 

Photo credit: ZOOM agency.