This Toulouse native, supported by the Banque Populaire Occitane, will be competing in saber and foil events in Japan, where he is aiming to add a gold medal to what is already a rich and accomplished life.
Fencer and doctor
Despite suffering a cruel freak accident, Maxime Valet has built a rich, fulfilling life. In 2009, he was 22 years old and in his third year of medical school when he fell into a hole near a construction site. This bizarre accident left him a paraplegic. But Maxime Valet refused to let this blow of fate dictate the subsequent course of his life. He was an excellent foil fencer at the time, having competed in several stages of the World Cup as a cadet and junior. He returned to fencing at the Toulouse University Club despite his handicap. He kept the same fencing master, Brigitte Aragou, and took up the foil again, the weapon with which he had learned to fence. Given this immense potential, he rapidly reached the highest levels worldwide and became a double bronze medalist in Rio in 2016 in both the team and individual foil events. At the same time, he continued studying medicine and almost naturally focused on the specialty of sports medicine.
Saber and foil
Of course, an accident of this seriousness is always a tragic event. But Maxime Valet has done everything to overcome it. Today he is chief physician at the CREPS Center for Resources, Expertise & Sporting Performance in Toulouse; he is married to Delphine Bernard, who took a fine 5th place in fencing at the London Paralympic Games in 2012, and they have a little girl together. Because he never stops wanting to progress, Maxime Valet has, in addition to foil, started a career as a saber fencer. It is in this discipline that he will begin his competition in Tokyo. If the foil is a thrusting weapon, the saber is a weapon using both cutting and thrusting movements to the effect that fencers can use the edge of the weapon as well as the tip against their opponent. He trained in saber under the guidance of one of the greatest saber fencers in the history of French fencing: Damien Touya. Maxime Valet's life path commands respect but, for him, there is no resting on his laurels; he has travelled to Japan to win gold!
Winning this medal would be the consecration not only of a sporting career but also of a man’s sheer tenacity.
Photo copyright: CSPF