Éloïse Vanryssel

Éloïse Vanryssel

Swordswoman and agri-food engineering student at Polytech Sorbonne

The Olympic Games have been a dream of mine since childhood.

A passionate fencer for nineteen years and a student at Polytech Sorbonne, Éloïse Vanryssel juggles mastery of the epee and her university training with brio, with a major goal in mind: the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

How did your passion for fencing come about?
Éloïse Vanryssel
: My passion for fencing began with my mother, who was a fencer and introduced me to the sport. I was 5 years old at the time. It was also around this time that the 2004 Athens Games were taking place, and the spectacle of athletes winning medals had a profound effect on me. It was then that I realized the potential this sport had to offer me. My passion continued to grow, especially when I started competing and saw my strength in  fencing.

What are you currently studying?
I'm studying agri-food engineering at Polytech Sorbonne. I chose this path because it particularly spoke to me, as I suffer from food allergies. I've always wanted to help find solutions for people with food intolerances. After my studies, I'd like to set up a company specializing in food supplements for sportsmen and women, and anyone with nutritional deficiencies.

How do you reconcile your studies with top-level sport?
: Reconciling my studies and fencing proved to be a gradual adaptation. I got used to the fast pace required by my studies. A typical day starts at 7 am with breakfast, followed by training from 8 to 10 am. I then go on to four hours of classes, punctuated by a lunch break, followed by a two-and-a-half-hour training session. After a protein snack and dinner, I work on my classes until 10:30 p.m., then go to bed to get a good eight hours of sleep.

How is Sorbonne Université supporting you in this project?
: The university is making it easier for me to get on with my studies by arranging a special course. As a top-level athlete, I do two-thirds of a normal year per year, which spreads my training over five years instead of three. The professors are very understanding. Sorbonne University also enabled me to obtain a grant from Crédit Agricole d'Ile-de-France via the Foundation. This helps me financially with my sports travel and the purchase of equipment.

What do the Paris Olympic Games mean to you?
E.V.: The Olympics are a major objective for me. To take part and win a medal would be an honor, especially in Paris! It's a dream I've had since childhood, when I started fencing and imagined joining the INSEP and competing in the Olympics.

How do you prepare for it? 
: I do a lot of training, and I also have the support of a mental coach who helps me improve my performance. I approach each training session by concentrating on my mental preparation, while keeping my objectives in mind, without letting myself be overwhelmed by stress.

What are your goals for the Olympics?
: To qualify and, ideally, to win a gold medal.

Do you have a lucky charm that you take with you to competitions?
: Although I don't have a lucky charm as such, I do wear small bracelets with personal significance. They motivate me and create a positive state of mind.

Do you have a pre-competition ritual?
: Rituals are an important part of my pre-competition routine. I often drink a lot of water, eat only easily digestible foods and read books on mental preparation or personal development. All these little rituals help to put me in the best possible condition before each competition.

What is your most vivid memory of a competition?
: It goes back to when I won the regional in Toulouse, when I was younger. During the medal ceremony, I tried to make a spectacular entrance onto the podium... except I stumbled on the step and ended up doing a roll behind the podium, in front of about thirty people. It was pretty funny!

Notable Achievements


  • Quarter-finalist (6ᵉ place) at summer university in Chengdu


  • Team bronze medal at Tallinn Glaive 
  • Individual bronze medal at the Mediterranean Games
  • Team silver medal at French championships


  • Individual bronze medal at French U23 championships


  • Team silver medal at French championships