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Up Close & Personal

name: Mathieu Bernier

email: mathieu.skydive@gmail.com

age: 45

education: Sports Teacher at French Ministry of Sports, AFF and Tandem Instructor.

family & marital staus: Relationship, with two children boys (2 years and 6 months) - not married yet...

number of jumps: 17,000

years in Sport: 28

teams: French national teams in 4-way (2007-2014) and 8-way (2004 - 2016)

slot(s): Point and Inside Center

favorite competition: World Championship of Formation Skydiving in Menzelinsk 2010

funniest moment in skydiving: World Team 2006, 400-way

skydiving mentor(s): Patrick Passe, Jerome David

hobbies: Kite surfing, cycling, ULM flying, BASE jumping

favorite music: Lou Reed, Perfect Day

favorite movie(s): Once Upon A Time In The West

favorite place: At home in Britany, France, and Vercors (French Mountains)

Where will you be ten years from now? Win again with a French team, as a coach or maybe competitor - who knows???

best kept secret: Too many - too dangerous...

Mathieu Bernier Mathieu Bernier
Many teams and competitors have tried something that seemed to be impossible: Winning a gold medal in 4-way and 8-way at the same FAI World Championship of Formation Skydiving.

It seemed to be impossible until Menzelinsk 2010, where and when the FS miracle eventually happened.

Mathieu Bernier from France became the only Formation Skydiving competitor in the modern history of the sport (since 1985) who competed in both events in Russia and won two gold medals.

Baby Mathieu with his father, Marin Ferre and his sister Celine Baby Mathieu with his father, Marin Ferre and his sister Celine
The story of the early part of his skydiving career is very similar to the one of Marin Ferre, who was born into a French skydiving family, as well. They both ended up as world champions, and they are both still active in the sport.

Mathieu Bernier made his first skydive at the Vannes Skydiving Center when he was 16 years old.

He had watched his father jump from planes and was waiting until he was old enough and his time had come.

Eventually he ended up working at the same skydiving center - together with Marin Ferre.

Watching and waiting... Watching and waiting...
It took him longer until he was finally selected for the French national teams, as he was a part of the next generation of French world class competitors after Marin and Martial Ferre.

Mathieu Bernier and his brother Guillaume began training and competing for France in 2004 and won their first 8-way gold medals two years later in Germany.

It was the beginning of a new and very successful era of French Formation Skydiving competition, as the Bernier brothers followed up with 8-way gold medals in 2008 and 4-way gold medals in 2010. The world meet in Menzelinsk 2010 was also the event where Mathieu Bernier made the double-gold miracle come true.

Jerome David (right bottom) with his French 2010 delegation Jerome David (right bottom) with his French 2010 delegation
The unique accomplishment in 2010 required the full support by the French delegation and the national head coach Jerome David.

It is no surprise that Mathieu Bernier sees Jerome David as one of his mentors: "He believed in me, and helped me to realize one of my dreams."

Patrick Passe also inspired him when he was young: "I was looking at him when I followed my father to different events, such like the European Boogie and World Team events."

Mathieu Bernier did not know in 2010 that he would eventually step into the position of his mentor five years later.

He had no plans to retire from active competition at this point in time. In fact, he made new plans to defend the French 4-way gold medals with a slightly different lineup at the Mondial 2012.

No medals in Prostejov 2014 No medals in Prostejov 2014
Jeremie Rollett, his team mate since 2004 in 4-way and 8-way, took over the position of the national coach when Jerome David stepped back after his FS Sweep in 2010.

Mathieu Bernier and his new 4-way lineup with Manu Sarrazin then ended up in 3rd place behind Arizona Airspeed and NMP PCH Hayabusa at the Mondial 2012.

He and his long-time team mate Julien Degen committed to two more 4-way years as player coaches with two new and young French competitors and did not even medal any longer in Prostejov 2014.

It would not be unusual if such an experience discouraged a successful competitor and put a serious question mark behind plans for the future. Not so for Mathieu Bernier.

New French 8-way lineup in 2015 New French 8-way lineup in 2015
There was not much of an interruption for the studied sports teacher before he was back in action. In fact, his agenda soon became even busier.

National coach Jeremie Rollett changed plans after Prostejov 2014 and recruited a new 4-way Open Class team.

He followed up in 8-way in 2015 by assigning eight former French 8-way world champions to the job of challenging the Golden Knights, including Mathieu Bernier.

The new 8-way lineup started off with a 21.5 average at the FAI World Cup 2015 in Teuge and had a 2-year commitment until the Mondial 2016 in the U.S.A.

Things changed again for Mathieu Bernier, even before the new 8-way team competed at the World Cup in Teuge, which became probably the most intense competition in his career.

In charge of the French FS delegation and competing: World Cup 2015 in Teuge In charge of the French FS delegation and competing: World Cup 2015 in Teuge
Jeremie Rollett announced in July 2015 that he will not continue as the French national coach to begin working with the Qatar Tigers in the future.

Mathieu Bernier was assigned as the new national coach before the September competition in Teuge.

Now he really had his hands full: Player coach for the 4-way B-Team Artemis Saumur, 8-way competition with the new French national team, coaching of the French 4-way Women team and responsibility for the complete French Formation Skydiving delegation.

Well, Mathieu Bernier knows how to handle that kind of pressure, as he proved in Menzelinsk 2010. His first competition as the new national coach ended with two gold medals (4-way Women, 8-way) and a bronze medal in 4-way Open. Artemis Saumur finished in 4th place with a new team record average.

10 years ago - or in 10 years: Win medals for France... 10 years ago - or in 10 years: Win medals for France...
His 2016 schedule will at least be a little bit easier than at the World Cup, even though there is still a lot of pressure.

The French skydiving federation expects medals at world championships, and the competition is tough. It seems impossible to catch up with NMP PCH Hayabusa and Arizona Airspeed in 4-way Open. Bronze medals would be a success at this point in time.

The Golden Knights owned the world's No. 1 positions in 8-way and 4-way Women at the end of 2015. However, he has brought the French FLY-IN Girls back into striking distance, and the top spot is in reach again.

He will also still compete with the French 8-way team and his world champion team mates of the past years. The Golden Knights still have to watch out if the highly experienced 8-way lineup gets enough training.

Whatever happens at Skydive Chicago will not impact much on Mathieu Bernier's motivation in any way. He plans to win more medals for France in ten years: "As a coach, and maybe as competitor... Who knows???"