He is 24 and he wants it all! Even if he already has everything or just about. With his lively eyes, beguiling smile and a basketball figure, Téo Andant could have easily starred in the cinema. It is elsewhere, however, that he distinguished himself. Last August upon his return from Budapest, the most successful AS Monaco* athlete received a special trophy from Prince Albert II. At the world championship he won France a medal in the 4×400m relay with a 20-year-old record breaking 2’58”45. A vice world champion in the 4×400m relay, the talented athlete now has but one target in mind: the Olympics. This kind of goal naturally requires the most rigorous training. Teo is thus working hard to beat his own record of 45”18 in the individual 400 m. 45 seconds sharp, or even better, is the tantalizing target. In June 2024 he will know if he qualifies. In the meantime, we are keeping our fingers crossed.
Hello Monaco: Téo, when and how did you come into sports?
Téo Andant: I started judo and tennis from a very young age, about five or six. A little later I played football for several years and that’s when my performance got noticed. I was always the fastest on the team… In middle school, I was coming first in cross country every time. Same for the beach races organized in my home town of Menton. Eventually, upon the advice of my coaches, I turned to athletics at the age of 13.
HM: From football to athletics, is that traditional in sports?
TA: It is quite common… For my part, I like speed. Endurance is not my thing. I’ve never even tried out for the junior 1000 metres. I am made for sprinting.
HM: At the age of 15 you specialized in the 400 metres and won your first medal. Did you then expect this cascading success?
TA: I competed in the French under-18 championships and got my first medal indeed. Due to a back injury, however, I had then stopped training for two months. Resuming my daily exercise subsequently paid off well! Nowadays I do a lot of training abroad avoiding the cold winter period. Warmer days encourage a much better performance.
HM: You are now a French champion and a vice-world champion. I guess the Olympics are the next step…
TA: It’s not guaranteed! The qualification is scheduled for June 2024. Until then, I must manage the individual 400 metres in 45 seconds to beat my own current record of 45”18. If I am doing sports, it is to be the best. Failure, that I can’t stand.
And yet, I’m a little embarrassed to be in the spotlight. It is very touching, but sometimes difficult to cope with.
HM: You are young and I believe subjected to an iron discipline like all high-performing athletes. Isn’t that a bit difficult to bear?
TA: At some point in my career I was too rigorous. I hardly allowed myself anything. I followed a very strict diet. It made me feel very guilty to eat something fatty or spend an evening with friends. Now I understand that psychological balance is just as essential.
HM: You also have a degree in journalism. Would you like to continue down this path?
TA: You know, you can only do athletics up to the age of 35… I’ve always enjoyed listening to football or other sporting events commentators. As part of my “sports and study” course, I followed the curriculum of the Journalist Training Centre. I obtained my journalism diploma at the time of first being selected for the French team. I would also like doing radio. I am interested in current events, news and I have always enjoyed writing. I’d feel very comfortable doing interviews.
HM: What are your hobbies outside of sports?
TA: Travelling. As soon as I have a chance, I am off. I am just back from a road trip across the American West. I have already visited Polynesia (my paternal family is Tahitian), Bali, Dubai, Florida and New York… I also travel a lot in athletics, and I like it.
HM: Do you plan to start a family one day?
TA: At the moment it’s not my priority. I have a girlfriend who runs the women’s 100 metres. I’m attracted to sporty girls. It’s normal, we understand each other better.
HM: Do you have a dream?
TA: My dream is to be Olympic champion and later on travel as much as possible. I am currently attracted by Brazil and all the South American countries. Same for New Zealand where my great-grandfather comes from. I would love to visit every country in the world. But even if I am still young, I know it would be difficult!
* — 6 times French junior champion (2016–2021), 3 time French record holder, 1 French Elite championship, holder of 13 national medals, 3 international medals among juniors, 3 international medals among seniors, 5 selections for the French A team, 3 times world championship finalist.