2008 Olympic Games gold medal winner Julien Absalon took a look back at his successful 2008 season. In Beijing, China, the Frenchman earned his second-ever Olympic Gold medal; he also won in Athens, Greece, in 2004.
"Each medal is different. In Athens, I was the revelation, while Beijing marked the climax of my achievements," said Absalon. "Maybe getting to the top is easier than keeping your place there. In any case, they've been the two greatest accomplishments in my career."
"Beijing was my sweetest victory, but winning [a round of the World Cup] in Houffalize, [Belgium], before thousands of fans and onlookers, was just great. It's not easy to keep your place at the top. You have to be self-critical if you want to make headway; otherwise, your rivals might take the lead."
Although he was not able to defend his World Championship cross country title, Absalon won several World Cups and the overall title. His Orbea team, which also included Ixio Barandiarán and Joseba Arízaga, took the World Cup team competition, too.
Absalon wrapped up his final race of the 2008 season with the Roc d'Azur last weekend in southern France. Looking ahead to 2009, Absalon said he would set new goals, but he hadn't decided on them yet.
"Now I want to enjoy this moment," he said.