The media exercise reverses the Champions Medal. Not necessarily the exercise in which Nuria Neumann feels more comfortable, however less than you would in a kayak. But she manages all of that, especially since it’s all about evoking the movie reminiscent of her exploits, recently available on Red Bull TV. With the end of the apocalypse, this woman marked the world record established on a fall of 104 feet (over 30 metres). Fully committed interview.
How would you describe this movie? What is the approach?
We tried to change the look because often in sports, the Journey of Champions aspect comes out a little bit: we see you in your everyday life, you grew up like this, your mom says something about you, that you were a cute kid, and then you’re out of the ordinary, you’re going to do something crazy, you’re going to get in trouble. , it’s hard. We wanted to get out of this very easy thing. We tried to tire our minds.
The primary project wasn’t to make a long movie like that, but rather at a distance of 100 feet that we see at the end, right?
Because my Red Bull athletic project was to cross the 100-foot token bar. And breaking the world record for the highest female fall. In 1998, American rower, Shannon Carroll, touched 78 feet for the first time. At the time, it was the world record for highest landings for men and women combined. On top of it all, this was a regression first, a downfall that no one before her has done and that hasn’t been repeated in over 10 years.
Something a little crazy, what?
completely. And even if falls do happen fairly regularly today, it’s still a good reference. Later, I think it was in 2005, another girl broke that height record which in itself wasn’t crazy. So the world record is related to something very simple.
Almost normal in quotes?
Not trivial because it was still 25 metres, but it’s pretty easy compared to the men’s world record and the shorts world record of 54 or 56 metres, so 188 feet. It bothered me that there was a huge difference between the two. I wanted to reach the 100-foot mark at least. As for the movie, we went from a project that only documented a 100-foot fall to a long format. Because we didn’t really know how to do it.
By digging in a bit we said to ourselves “Okay, you jump downhill, it’s 30 meters tall” but for normal humans, that’s not very interesting. So David (Arno, director) delved into making a good story and we were able to make a movie about a waterfall, but he’s not talking about kayaking.
There is a feminist affirmation that we find throughout the film. With this particularly interesting passage about fear and the difference in requirements towards boys and girls since childhood. It’s a somewhat social topic covered up on the surface in the movie…
I started with a simple note. On my team, we were almost the only ones in France at the time who had an almost perfect mix. It was the young girls who went there, and when we were at the races we were entitled to send notes like “In your club, the girls are not afraid”. It always baffled me a little. I was like “So what?”
So what ?
True, in clubs, young girls are often withdrawn, clinging to the edge, not wanting to try new things. Whereas boys go more easily to cardboard or try things and suddenly progress faster between the ages of 8 and 12.
We at La Plagne didn’t have that, and the girls were the leaders of the youth group. The coach did not distinguish between girls and boys. It was: “Come on, let’s go, everybody’s going.” While I was on my previous team, I had a coach who wouldn’t force me to go if I was scared. Boys had no right to be afraid, otherwise they were androgynous, young guys …
Fear is partially socially constructed, especially for young girls. The difference between girls and boys is not biological, it is only if you step on a barrier and you are a girl, you will be told: “Be careful, you will fall.”
How do you deal with this fear and how disciplined it is?
Sometimes we have preconceptions about fear, like fear is bad. We often see it as something negative which will prevent us from performing when I think we should use that fear. I wouldn’t do what I do if there was no part of me that liked to be afraid.
No, it’s very reductive. Adrenaline, it’s time. You have tension, you are going, you have adrenaline. In my case, the adrenaline is after the speed, when it’s there, it’s already gone.
There is this general idea in the documentary to show through this fear that in extreme sports you are not necessarily reckless and that you don’t rush into the heap in every unconscious state…
We are not the adrenaline junkies or the crazy people we often describe. Again, these are ideas that are socially constructed or even from a marketing point of view. Because extreme kayaking sells better than river kayaking. True, they are extreme, but they have become blanket words. Everything becomes extreme, everything becomes an expedition and adventure, and it just doesn’t mean anything anymore. My desire was to deconstruct this idea of the stupid extreme athlete throwing himself like that over jumps or hills. On the contrary, it is very calculated. If I do this without thinking, frankly, the chances of me ending up in a wheelchair are high.
People in the street would see my Red Bull hat and quickly ask me what sport I play. When I say “hard kayaking” they look at you, stick out their tongues, draw rock ‘n’ roll signs, and say “yes.” Then you say to yourself “Wow, what are they taking me for…”
There’s also a lot of intimacy in the movie, your facing death, mourning, pain…it’s very personal.
It’s the hardest thing to deal with. Neither the director nor the director nor the broadcaster will bear the consequences. When there are negative or even positive but very intrusive comments, that will work for me. Now I can have Jean-Michel, whom I have never met in my life, who will tell me about the death of one of my close friends.
People don’t always have the ability to stay in their places and keep their distance. They follow you on the networks, and therefore they have the impression that you are their friend, that they can talk to you about what they want and that you will be OK with it. People don’t make much difference. It’s part of my job, but it’s not my favorite part.
Are you planning to watch what is said about the movie about you?
It’s easy to say, “No but I don’t care, I don’t watch the comments,” but in reality, you’re bound to run into it at some point and it’s going to hurt. Just watch and prepare for it. Sometimes there are things that can be relevant to the review. And then you always have the comment “but don’t do that, it’s too dangerous”. And suddenly you want to answer: “Actually, you did not understand the movie” (He laughs).