TSG gets down to the nitty gritty with World and European BMX Freestyle Champ and Olympic hopeful Anthony Jeanjean.
by DANNY BURROW – photos THE AGENCY/FISE & BART DE JONG
Find out his admirable approach to life, contests, injury, the Olympics and his responsibilities to the next generation of riders on the up…
I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life
From what I have read competing at FISE Montpellier in 2019 was like a ‘completing the circle’ moment for you: Is this how it felt?
It was a very intense moment for me because I discovered BMX freestyle at FISE de Montpellier 10 years ago and my first competition was at FISE de Montpellier; so finding myself in the BMX Park Pro final 10 years later was incredible for me.
Can you remember how you felt watching BMX from the stands as a 10-year-old? And did you make the conscious choice then to be a pro BMX rider?
When I was 10-years-old and watching BMX pro riders I was very impressed and I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. For me it was a goal and also a clear choice.
Seems like Skatepark Sérignan is quite the incubator of talent: What is it about the place or crew there that helped the likes of you and Laury Perez?
The BMX Park of Sérignan is indeed a land of champions. In the club we have 7 riders in the French team, and all the young people of the club win competitions in their respective categories. So yes Sérignan is a land filled with young talent and it helps a lot on a daily basis in progression and training!
Judging from the promises of cash and expansion it seems like the success of you guys and the park has woken up the regional government to the fact that skate and BMX is a positive thing that should be encouraged: Who would have guessed it?
Yes indeed the city of Sérignan, the department, the region, as well as the French cycling federation support us and accompany us in our projects of enlargement and development of the club. It is very important to support the professional athletes of the club but also allow young people to progress in safety on structures that are suitable for competitions so that they get to the highest level.
it is a very good thing that our sport is finally recognized
You must be stoked to have been selected to represent France at the Japan Olympics? And do you have any reservations about including such a freethinking ‘sport’ as BMX in The Games?
It is a great pride for me to have succeeded in qualifying France for the first Olympic Games in BMX Freestyle Park, and a great pride for me to represent my country in this competition. I think that for our discipline it is a good thing because our sport is still little known to the general public and I think that with events like the Olympic games which reach the public of the whole world the sport will evolve and more young people will start BMX. Also more clubs will be created, as well as Skate and BMX parks and so develop BMX and its industry. So yes I think that it is a very good thing that our sport is finally recognized and represented in a legendary competition such as the Olympics.
And on the subject of the Olympics, what do make of your chances going up against Logan Martin?
Logan Martin is an extremely talented athlete and a sportsman whom I greatly respect for his level in BMX, his enormous daily work to get there and for all the titles he has won. But in a competition he remains a competitor like all the others and I work hard daily to be able to compete with athletes like Logan Martin.
If you bag a medal at the games you trophy cabinet is going to be pretty full: Out of all of your successes, including French Champs, and being the first ever European Champ, is there one contest that stands out in your head above all the others and why?
All the competitions are very important for me. I approach them all with the same desire to give the best of myself. That’s what I did to become champion of France and champion of Europe. I am very proud though to be the very first European Champion in the history of BMX freestyle.
Somewhere I read that your favourite BMX edits were of Drew Bezanson, which is understandable: Who else has been an influence on your riding, tricks and style on your pedalling journey? And are there any other riders whose edits you watch on repeat?
Yes, for sure, Drew Bezanson has been an influence on me since I started BMX; I’ve always admired his commitment and risk-taking. I’ve also always admired Kyle Baldock for his incredible tricks! Truth is I just like BMX, and I get inspired by all riders and their unique styles.
What was it like to come back from you monster crash in 2018? Some professional athletes even go as far as getting psychological get rid of the ghosts an accident like that; was it something that you considered?
After my accident in 2018 it was very hard psychologically to return to the highest level with a permanent fear of injury. With time, determination and support from my loved ones I managed to leave this bad period behind me and now look forward to the objectives that I have for national and international competitions.
You take the responsibility of being a professional rider in every sense pretty seriously, from you riding to your online presence: is that a fair statement?
Of course, I try to show a good image of our sport and to be as flawless as possible. I think it is important to have a healthy image for young riders.
On the subject of slams you must be pretty stoked to signing up to the TSG global team and having their protection to keep you safe?
It is an honour for me to represent this legendary brand. I think TSG represents excellence in terms of protection and I am stoked to be able to encourage other riders to put on protection.
Is there a bit of protection that you never ride without?
I never ride without my protection, which includes helmet, gloves, knee pad, shin protectors and ankle protectors. I just never ride without my protection.
In closing do you have any shout outs you would like to make?
I strongly recommend that young riders protect themselves well to avoid injuries and keep their body healthy so they can ride BMX Freestyle for as long as possible!