A drama from which she never really recovered… On October 31, 2001, Carole Montillet lost one of her closest friends. At the age of 31, it was two days after colliding with Markus Anwander that alpine skier Régine Cagnoud lost her life, victim of irreversible brain damage. Asked about this tragedy, it was in an interview with Parisian that Carole Montillet confided: “This tragic moment united us, in a certain way. We were all present on this track. No one saw the collision ( with the German trainer Markus Anwander), and so much the better, because it would have been even more traumatic. When I got to her height, her body was still sliding down the slope. There, I saw in her eyes that she was not He was already gone. We shared the same room, I had to redo his things. I remember putting his bloody helmet in his bag.”
Referring to the months preceding the death of Régine Cagnoud, the Olympic champion revealed: “After the accident, I no longer slept. But really, that’s not a way of speaking. I spent whole nights rehashing the same things, to say to myself ‘Why her?’ The little bike in your skull turns and turns, indefinitely. I spent two and a half months without sleep. I was afraid of shooting someone, that I could no longer ski freely. In Cortina d’Ampezzo, I I refuse to race on the day of the start. Deep down inside me, I tell myself that I’m going to go to hell if I continue. There, I said: ‘I stop, I can’t take it anymore.’ I didn’t go to Are for the next round of the World Cup. I said I was going to the United States early to adapt to the jet lag, but what I really wanted was to pull away from this world of skiing.” While she did not think about ending her season, she added: “It was an Olympic year, so no. But a normal season, I might have done it. Now we are unfortunately in an environment where accidents happen. I was already on the circuit when Ulrike Maier died in the race. The Olympics saved me and allowed me to get up again.”
Carole Montillet: “I needed something to click, to tell me that Régine was gone”
Finally, the skier felt better in Salt Lake City. “I was a standard bearer, and this role did me good. I used the positivity of all these athletes around me to start again. Basically, I needed something to click, to tell me that Régine was gone, and that whatever I did, it wouldn’t change anything at all. In this kind of drama, either you stay at the bottom of your hole, or you try to get out of it. On these Olympics, I decided to get out of it, even though my body continued to deny speed at first,” she explained.
Carole Montillet © Instagram