Leveaux Gets Ready For Rome
Craig Lord
The French sprinter is back in training with new hunger in his heart: nothing like two Olympic silver medals to whet the appetite


Watch out for Amaury Leveaux, of France, this coming season: nothing like two Olympic silver medals to whet the appetite. In an audience with the French media, the Olympic 50m and 4x100m free medallist was asked what could be better than his efforts of the summer past. "To be Olympic champion," he replied. 

London 2012 will offer him a next time. The journey begins in racing terms at the European short-course championships in Croatia in December but the sprinter harbours ambitions to become world champion in Rome next summer. The event in which he may do that remains open to question. Leveaux says that he wants "to be competitive" from 50m to 200m and believes he had a 47.2 100m free in him. The key to unlocking his potential rests in his head, he says.

In L'Equipe, he reveals a hidden gem in his treasury of motivation over the past four years. In 2004, Alex Popov, with a nod to the young Frenchman's progress without having put in too much work, told him: "See, when you get down to some work, you'll really go!".

Leveaux lists events from 50m to 200m as his targets but is at pains to point out that he does not see his Rome programme as including the triple. His targets will emerge as work progresses at Mulhouse with coach Lionel Horter. None are soft. To the right is Cesar Cielo, to the left Alain Bernard, and ahead of him Michael Phelps. Then there is the likes of Eamon Sullivan, who will have learned much in Beijing.

"On 200m, Phelps is on the moon and I'm still on Earth," said the Frenchman. The first man to beat him in a big competition will be like the first man to beat Usain Bolt on the 100m. He's the man to beat." Rome may not constitute a "big competition" for Phelps in terms of priorities on the road to London 2012. Rome will be to Phelps what Montreal was for him in 2005, coach Bob Bowman has said. A cobweb-blowing exercise. The 200m may not even be part of the mix. The 100m might well be. 

Asked if he was serious about his next campaign, Leveaux answered: "I'm going to do what it takes ... I've got up to some stuff in my life that hasn't served me well. I want to be serious." The celebrity tour was not for him. Rather he wanted to "show the world that beijing was no lash in the pan."