Carolann Héduit: a top-level gymnast joins the National Police

A 19-year-old gymnast, several times selected for the France gymnastics team, Carolann Héduit is looking forward to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The one who joined the national police’s team of high-level athletes looks back on her career, her ambitions, the values of respect, combativeness, and excellence that she shares with the security forces of which she wants to be the ambassador to youth.

Interview by Camille Léveillé

Upto the top

Carolann is not the poster child of gymnastics like those whose destiny is sometimes mapped out by natural leanings. « I started very early, when just a baby, but gymnastics was far from obvious. I can’t say that I particularly liked this discipline. I tried swimming and dancing. Finally, I came back to gymnastics at the age of 6 to channel my energy. Over time, I became passionate. However, I did not have the ideal profile of a gymnast, and I also had coordination problems, » she reveals. Little by little, Carolann Héduit blossomed and enjoyed the sport. While she did not see herself at the top of the podium, she reached the highest steps of international sports competitions through hard work and self-sacrifice. Then, she won the bronze medal at the European Championships on balance beam in 2022. An accomplishment. « Surprisingly, it’s not the performance I’m most proud of. Icould have done better. My proudest achievement is havingpassed 3 rounds of the 4 apparatus at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year. I remember the sensations and especially the confidence I had at that moment. I knew Iwas going to succeed and give the best of myself, » says Carolann Héduit.

Surpassing oneself daily

« By definition, top-level sport is extremely difficult and demanding. Without this, it wouldn’t be so selective. Injuries are the hardest thing to overcome. For my part, I was lucky, in my misfortune, to get injured just before the lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic. I was able to get back on track without missing any competitions. Being resilient is essential for being able to moveforward and bounce back. This event allowed me to come back stronger. It is part of the path to my success at the Tokyo Olympic Games, » explains the gymnast and continues: « Surpassing oneself also involves the discipline that gymnastics requires. I train 6 days a week for almost 32 hours a week. Today, I devote myself fully to gymnastics. »

The national police team: Paris 2024 objective

Last April, the European Championships medalist joined the national police’s team of top-level athletes. Inspired by the army of champions among the military, the objective of this system is to establish a stronger link between the police and the population. A promise that won over Carolann Héduit. Alongside the saber world vice-champion fencer Maxime Pianfetti, pole vaulter Valentin Lavillenie, wrestler Marwane Yezza and swimmer Damien Joly, Carolann Héduit is thriving in this big new family where she will be an operational reservist for 2 years. She receives a salary to ensure her sports preparation, i.e., 1400 euros net per month. « Practicing a top-level sport is expensive. Juggling sport and work is complicated. The National Police helps me financially. To be at the side of the national police is to join a team. This allows you to have a certain peace of mind. It is also a great place for exchanges and meetings with athletes from many disciplines. It allows me to open up and mature. »

The members of the national police’s team of top-level athletes follow a 4-week training course during which are held theoretical courses and shooting sessions. Athletes commit up to 25 days a year to contribute to the visibility of the National Police as ambassadors of the institution. And, if the gymnastics team for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games has not been decided yet, Carolann Héduit is determined to be part of it. « Having joined the ranks of the National Police allows me to remain 100% focused on my goal: Paris 2024. »

Passing on values

« The values of top-level sport and those of the National Police are similar. Discipline, respect, combativeness and surpassing oneself are my daily mantras, like those of many police officers. I really see myself in this institution. That is also why I wanted to get involved. » The one for whom the « world of police » was a stranger until a few months ago, seems to have found her place in this big house. « I want to be 100% present to talk to the public and my community about the national police and above all to show a positive image of it. I’m young and I think I can be a good ambassador to show the French youth another face of thisinstitution, » concludes the champion.

copyright SophiePasquet