“I learn the tough way […] and I think it’s a good way” Denis Gargaud-Chanut
Denis Gargaud-Chanut (www.denisgargaudchanut.com) is French and he is the current C1Men Olympic Champion, a title he won in Rio in 2016. Denis has competed in both C1 and C2 from 2009 to 2011 alongside Fabien Lefèvre. He won Gold in C1M at the Senior World Champion in Bratislava as well as silver in C2M which makes him the first male athlete at that time, with Fabien Lefèvre to medal in 2 classes at the same Senior World Championship. Denis has also won a number of medals at the European Championships with in individual event and team event.
Denis lives in Marseille in the South of France with his family and travel to Pau, In the Pyrénées Range to train on the white water.
Besides being a World class athlete, Denis is also the CEO of Mulebar (www.mulebar.com), a company that creates “all natural” energy bars and gels.
Denis has started his paddling career at the age of 12, thanks to his cousin and has signed up into one of the most successful club in France, Marseille Mazargues Canoe-Kayak. Denis has always learnt the “tough way” as he likes to put it; Even if he had a joyful and positive childhood, he’d witnessed first hand the rough and unspoken rules in the streets of Marseille; an experience that later, he says, helped him to switch on the survival mode in competition.
Denis also underwent a rigorous training method dispensed by Albert Tobelem, the figure of the club and an icon in the french canoeing landscape. As Denis puts it: “training was about life and kayaking” and the rules were such that the least interested were forced to leave.
Later in the discussion, Denis opens up and share his internal battle against Tony Estanguet and how he dealt with it to move on and later become a better person. He shares his mixed feelings about his experience doubling up C1 and C2.
He also speaks about how he bounced back after his non selection to the 2012 London Olympic Games and how he wanted to approach his first Olympics and his relationship with his now first class coach Benoit Peschier.
As a true self made man, Denis gives away unconventional wisdom and advises to young paddlers (school teachers and parents please close your ears!). He encourages people to follow their gut feeling while listening to others at the same time.
At the beginning of the discussion, it takes us some time to find our rhythm and words in our second language but bear with us because Denis shares gems in an open and honest discussion.
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If you enjoy listening to Denis you may want to listen to the following podcasts: