Meeting with Mathieu Muller, triathlete and project manager at the Ministry of Sports
Today, I am interviewing Mathieu Muller, triathlete, project manager at the Ministry of Sports and leader of the latest edition of Global Sports Week 2021. We talk about triathlon, environment, and how to surpass yourself to overcome your fears.
Can you introduce yourself to our community?
My name is Mathieu Muller, I am the youngest of three boys, all three triathletes! We train at a competitive level but above all we like to have fun with the right amount of adversity. In that regard, we are already well served between the three of us!
How did you get into triathlon?
We always played several different sports with the siblings: volleyball, water polo, tennis… We wanted to try everything!
And then at a time when we saw that we were no longer making much progress in water polo, we gradually started cycling. Antoine started first, with an uncle who was a cycling fan.
After a while he decided to try a triathlon, just to test it out, and he performed very well from the start! Thomas and I found the triathlon very cool too, we had to try… So we followed it! In less than a year the three of us were embarked on the triathlon adventure.
It's great to share this experience between brothers!
Absolutely, and we even managed to get the parents on board!
Personally, I love running, I love cycling… but I can’t do it with swimming! I also live in Paris, which doesn't make things any easier... Do you have any advice on how to get started?
It’s a speech I hear a lot, it’s true! People are very attracted to triathlon, but swimming can cause fear. We're not all born swimmers, we don't all have access to a swimming pool near us... I think we just have to overcome this "fear" of taking the plunge! Sport is also that sometimes: setting yourself a challenge. If you overcome your fear and train regularly, you inevitably progress, and the fear goes away on its own.
At the start of 2021, a major event for the life of sport in the world took place in Paris: Global Sports Week, in February. This event, which brings together the players in tomorrow's sport, has invited you as a Young Sports Maker. What did this invitation consist of?
The 𝘠𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘨 𝘚𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘴 𝘔𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘳𝘴 are around thirty young players in sport, selected from the four corners of the globe. Our mission is to bring the eyes of younger generations to the issues that link sport to the challenges of the 21st century. During Global Sports Week we were able to “challenge” the speakers in front of us, by asking them questions that concern us on all kinds of subjects such as data, equality, climate, etc.
The climate, precisely. How was your awareness between sport and environment born?
My brothers and I have been doing triathlons for about ten years now. Throughout our practice we realized the meaning of surpassing ourselves, of challenging each other in sport... but also that we had to go further by trying to better understand the issues linked to our practice. We therefore asked ourselves the question of what could be good for us but also for our ecosystems, and that's what made us join the Circle adventure!
It is true that on the one hand we observe an awareness of athletes from an ecological point of view, and on the other hand a sports industry which pollutes enormously... How can we reconcile these two worlds to develop a more sustainable ecosystem?
The example that comes to mind is that of François Gabart, winner of the 2012 Vendée Globe and whom I had the opportunity to meet at Global Sports Week: we grant skippers this organic relationship with nature, in contact with the elements, but we forget that their boats consume a lot of energy! François Gabart is well aware of this problem, and his action to change the situation with his Mer Concept project is very interesting. They succeed in combining performance and sustainable development, a winning duo!
An event that could soon set an example will be the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, where the emphasis is placed on the desire to offer responsible Olympics. Did the 2021 edition of Global Sports Week play a role as a catalyst for this new dynamic for the climate in sport in France?
Manufacturers who produce the tools and products used to practice different sporting disciplines must play their role. But they are not the only ones: the Olympic Games are a sounding board for the life of world sport, and representatives of major sporting institutions like this must also set an example.
Tokyo is already promising great initiatives to integrate this new environmental awareness [Editor's note: the Tokyo Olympic Games will take place in the summer of 2021], but Paris is taking on the challenge of going even further!
Global issues need global players. But at the individual level too, awareness must be present and each of us must act for the climate. What would be your advice as a responsible athlete to develop a more sustainable practice for the planet?
My advice would be to analyze your practice, to observe how we experience our sport, and to ask yourself “how can I have a more ecological approach?” ". The important thing is to raise awareness of your sporting practice by understanding what could improve the environmental situation of your discipline.
But it's not easy to change your habits! It is work that is done day after day, accompanied by this thought in mind: “Is the way I practice my sport optimal? How can I do better? ". A little reflex that can make a big difference!