Martiniquaise Mélanie De Jesus Santos joins the team at

After her failure at the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, the gymnast decided to change her way of training to the point of leaving France for the United States and joining Simone Biles’ team. Her former Saint-Etienne coach, Eric Hagard, sees Hummingbird’s flight quite well to perfect her experience abroad and come back even stronger in the France team.



I’m going to the United States to train. That’s it, I’m ready to go. Just the luggage and there you have it“. It is in a video published on the website of the French Gymnastics Federation on Wednesday April 6 that Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos, the queen of french gymnasticsannounced his departure for America.

In this publication, Martiniquaise confirms that he is leaving France to train in the United States, in Houston, to join the French coaches of Simone Biles, the world gymnastics star. An announcement that inevitably makes a lot of noise in Saint-Etienne, where the 21-year-old has been training for several years, but her trainer Eric Hagard tempers: “As for my position in front of her, I did my job with Melanie. We welcome you to France to allow you to realize her dream, that is, the Olympic Games. In fact, in the meantime, she had a chance to win a quadruple gold medal at the European Championships.


Melanie de Jesus dos Santos in the uneven bars final at the Tokyo Olympics.



© Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

“We did our job as a second parent, but at some point in life, the bird has to take flight. And as you know, Mélanie’s nickname is ‘the hummingbird.’Eric Hagard told Outre-mer La 1ère. Mélanie decided to bounce back in her life after the Olympic Games, to see something else since we were indeed at the origin of her participation in the American tour.

With my wife, we wanted Mélanie to digest her disappointment with the Olympics and see something else. She knows very well that Saint-Etienne was her second family for several years and that attachment she has for the people who worked for her and with her is still there. Yes, I’m happy for her, I’m glad that she can try this experience.

eric hagard

Coach of Mélanie De Jesus Santos in Saint-Etienne

The young gymnast only qualified in the 6th place on uneven bars and I arrive 11th in the All-Around of the last Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. The disappointment lived up to his hopes. The native of Schoelcher in Martinique, who wanted to stop breathing and evacuate the frustration of her failure in the Olympic Games, was invited to a tour of thirty scheduled dates between September 21 and November 7 in the US. with Simone Biles. She then found her desire to return to the highest level.

Eric Hagard remembers that“After the Tokyo Olympics, we discussed, we took stock of what he wanted to do. He had no ideas. He wanted to leave the gym. We made sure he could recover from an American tour. It opened his eyes to another. It was a way of do gymnastics. She did shows every night in front of 10 to 15,000 people. It was a bit like the gym show, the gym show. Erase these truncated Games. She discovered a country. She toured the United States and said to herself: ” It’s okay, it corresponds a bit to the life I want to lead a little later”.

Stéphanois’ coach continues: “Before the Tokyo Games we had the opportunity to do two practices with Simone, because effectively, when your name is Mélanie de Jesus Dos Santos and you have Olympic ambitions, medal goals, you have to train with the best gymnast of the moment. Mélanie wants to live this experience in preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics.”

Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos will train in this new American structure, she explains, “with Cécile and Laurent Landi, French trainers. I would not go with Simone (Biles) because for her the gym is a bit on standby, but I will be with the girls from the United States”.

For Eric Hagar, “The American state of mind is special and that’s what Mélanie likes. Later, I had the opportunity to train in the United States and I would say that we keep our roots somewhere. In the way we see things, we become Americanized. French “The coaches will speak to you in French or maybe also in English. I do not know. She will see. But it is an opportunity, because in difficult times, perhaps speaking with her in French will solve the problems. But in terms of mood, these people are completely integrated into American society. They work with the fighting spirit. They had the opportunity to train Simon Biles, bringing the experience to a very high level. This is what may allow Mélanie to realize her medal dreams.”

Great hope of French gymnastics, Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos also announces her goals: “My project is the 2024 Olympic preparation. I will come back for the internships, the competitions. I will continue playing for France.” Despite the distance, the Martiniquaise keeps its sights on the Olympic Games in Paris because the Olympic motto “Faster, Higher, Stronger” It is perfect for this champion who aspires to be queen at home in three years.

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