Lauren Rembi, finally at peace with the Games

A fourth place for your first participation in the Olympic Games can launch your international career

Lauren Rembi, finally at peace with the Games

A fourth place for your first participation in the Olympic Games can launch your international career... But it's quite the opposite that happened for Lauren Rembi after the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, in 2016: "Be so close to the goal and failing, it's traumatic, testifies the swordsman, now 32 years old. It was both a springboard and a hindrance, because for a long time, I was afraid to repeat the Games for fear of experiencing fourth place again.”

When she arrived in Brazil in July 2016, Lauren Rembi was a promising swordswoman. Junior world vice-champion in 2010, twice French champion, victorious in a 2013-2014 World Cup event in... Rio, she is not, however, among the favorites for the Olympic event.

She created a surprise by reaching the semi-finals of the individual tournament, but failed at this stage, then was beaten by two touches during the match for the bronze medal. It will take a while for her to get over it: “For a year, I categorically refused to talk about it. My sister [Joséphine Jacques-André-Coquin, also a member of the French epee team at the Rio Games] said that I was depressed, but I didn't experience it as such.

After this difficult period, Lauren Rembi remains “in troubled waters”. The setbacks multiplied and his career didn't really take off: "I didn't participate in the Tokyo Games because of all that, I had health problems, and when I was finally fit to resume and I I had recovered my full capacity, we had Covid. But these few years were nevertheless beneficial for me, because I was able to make peace with the Games.”

However, La Francilienne did not disappear from the radar during this period. Well established in the national collective, she won two European titles with the French team, in 2017 and 2022. Her non-participation in the Tokyo Games, in 2021, served as an electric shock: in conflict with the national coaches, she decides to leave the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (Insep), where the best French fencers are brought together, to train in a club, at the Paris Université Club. She is preparing for one last objective: the Paris Olympic Games, which will take place from July 26 to August 11.

He will first have to obtain his qualification, “a first step to hope to obtain a medal”. The French selection will be announced in May, just two months before the Games, and Lauren Rembi knows that in the event of qualification, she will have to immediately focus on the Olympic deadline.

At the Cité universitaire internationale, where she trains under the guidance of Richard Robin, fencing master of the Paris Université Club, Lauren Rembi seems focused and meticulous. Her coach uses her voice to encourage her, as if the athlete constantly needed reassurance. “She had physical problems and she had to rebuild herself. It’s going pretty well, she’s on the right track,” said the fencing master. After knee surgery in 2023, his student was only able to start his season in January. “I didn’t know if I was going to get back to my level or when I was going to start again,” she says.

Lauren Rembi took her first steps as a fencer at the age of 5. Three of her brothers and sisters played the same sport, including Joséphine, alongside whom she spent most of her international career. “I don’t see her as an adversary, it’s because of her that I’m here today. So I want to win as much as I want her to win,” she says.

The swordsman made his debut in Seine-Saint-Denis, at AS Bondy, and is very happy to see that many Olympic events will take place in the “93”: “In people's imagination, this is not is not a good place to live, and I, who lived there throughout my childhood, hope that it will improve our image! »

In a lawyer's dress

Now based in Champs-sur-Marne (Seine-et-Marne) after having lived in Drancy and Livry-Gargan, she remains attached to her original department: “What I like is that there are all origins there, she says. Everyone lives with everyone, without value judgment. I really have memories of solidarity. »

Lauren Rembi knows that her career as a high-level sportswoman is nearing its end. At the same time as she is aiming for Olympic qualification, she is training to become a lawyer. In terms of studies, the young woman's path has not been the most straight: “At the start of my career, I prioritized fencing. Missing my exams to go to competition didn't bother me. So, I was repeating all my years,” she says.

Until the day she found new motivation: “My little brother got his master’s degree before me, and then I told myself that I had to get the second one,” she says with a laugh. The swordsman ended up obtaining his master's degree in law and joined the EFB in September, a law school located in Issy-les-Moulineaux (Hauts-de-Seine). Today she juggles between her training and her sport: “We have classes from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., plus training and homework… I struggle to reconcile the two. »

But for Lauren Rembi, the prospect of ending her career by participating in her second Olympic Games, in Paris moreover, constitutes enormous motivation. The young woman decided to take advantage of this moment: “I assume that this is the last year where I do high-level fencing and I therefore take advantage of each competition, because I don't know if I will enjoy it. will do it again one day. »

“But if I decide to stop, it will only be for the high level,” she adds. I won't be able to stop fencing overnight, it's part of my life. » Lauren Rembi knows that other fights await her. But she hopes to compete in these no longer in a fencer's outfit, but in a lawyer's dress.