By Anna Rose Johnson
French gymnastics is on the rise again, with the recent success of Melanie de Jesus dos Santos, Louise Vanhille, Marine Boyer, and a talented 16-year-old named Lorette Charpy.
Feature Photo by Lloyd Smith
Lorette Charpy hails from Andancette, a city in the southeast of France. Born on December 3, 2001, Charpy grew up in the gym, starting to train as a two-year-old at the Saint-Vallier sur Rhône club. Gymnastics was a family tradition: both of her parents were coaches, and Charpy’s two older sisters, Serena and Grace, competed in gymnastics as well. She also has a younger brother named Alcide.
“Currently I train within the Saint Etienne gymnastics club,” says Charpy. “I have been within Saint Etienne France Pole for seven years. I am currently in my final year in high school, in the scientific section (year 13); therefore I am going to [receive] my high school diploma in June.”
One of Charpy’s biggest competitions to date was the 2018 American Cup in Chicago, where she finished fourth in the all-around behind reigning World AA champion Morgan Hurd, World floor champion Mai Murakami, and two-time U.S. junior champion Maile O’Keefe. “On Tuesday, at the end of a national training, less than one week before [the] beginning of the [American Cup], I learned that I was going to participate in this competition,” remembers Charpy. “It really was a pleasure to be able to do such a big competition. All the training sessions went well, and being with the other gymnasts was cool. This [meet] was different than [some] other individual competitions, because we encouraged one another. It will probably be one of my best experiences.”
She also performed her new floor routine in Chicago; a resplendent performance with mesmerizing choreography and gorgeous expression. “I started [training this choreography] in Los Angeles during our training in the USA, and finished it in Saint Etienne,” says Charpy. “I was supposed to [debut] this [routine] for the first World Championship test, but it was too early. Therefore, I did it during my second test [and then in World qualifications]. It’s really a different style from my old floor exercise.”
The 2017 World Championships were another major test for Charpy, who finished 15th on balance beam in qualifications.
“The selection between Juliette [Bossu] and I was already very difficult,” she admits. “We are very close friends, and it is not the first time that a choice was made between us two [when choosing a team]. Training sessions were great, however. The podium training could have been better; I was really stressed. I wanted to set up all the details to be ready for the competition. When I arrivedon the [podium], I was relaxed; I don’t know why I fell on uneven bars. I had the impression it was not real. [My beam routine] was a good performance, but I fell in the double somersaults during the floor exercise. Despite both falls, I was very happy to take part [in] these World Championships.”
Charpy’s early ballet training has certainly been instrumental in creating the artistic components of her routines. “I stopped [practicing ballet] when I entered the France Pole,” she explains. “At the Pole we have choreography training three times a week with my trainer, Monique Hagard. Monique is my beam trainer, too. ”
The rising French star maintains a busy schedule as she chases her gymnastics dreams. “On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, I warm up and I do physical preparation,” says Charpy. “In the morning, I practice uneven bars and floor exercise. In the afternoon, I warm up or I work my choreography for a start, and I practice again [on] uneven bars, beam and floor or vault according to my morning program. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, I warm up and I do physical preparation. Afterward, I train on the four apparatus. During these two days, I work essentials, contrary to the other days when I work my complete exercises and innovations.”
Charpy recently competed at the prestigious Jesolo Trophy (April 14-15), finishing ninth in the all-around with a 52.886, just a few tenths behind Brazilian Olympian Flavia Saraiva. “My main goals [for the rest of the year] are to participate in the European Championships and in the World Championships,” says Charpy. “I hope to take part [in] different World Cups too.”
And of course, Charpy would love to check “Olympic Games” off her bucket list.
“In the long-term, I want to [compete] in big competitions [if I receive] good results, and of course I want to participate in the 2020 Olympic Games,” she says.
Charpy tells us that training and competing alongside her sisters throughout the years “was really an advantage for me, they help me a lot.” Some of her favorite memories in the sport include her appearance at the 2014 French Cup in Cholet. “Because of an injury, Grace couldn’t take part in this competition,” remembers Charpy. “Despite this bad news, we won the French Cup, and I still wonder today how we succeeded because we started with little hope. Another [favorite] memory is my bronze medal [in] the 2016 European Championships in Bern.”
Charpy also cites the 2016 French Championships in Mulhouse as a memorable competition, as she won the gold in the junior all-around division and two apparatus medals. “During this competition, it is important to mention that the Saint Etienne Pole France obtained very good results,” she adds.
Lorette Charpy also says that she’d like to thank all of her fans and followers for their daily support. “Without you I would not be where I am today,” she tells us. Charpy’s fans will continue to follow her career with excitement this season as we race closer toward the European Championships—and ultimately, the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Video via USA Gymnastics
Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com