Judo coach Alain Schmitt was again released on Friday June 10 by the Paris Court of Appeal for acts of domestic violence against his former judoka companion, Olympic champion Margaux Pinot.
The two athletes have been tearing each other apart for six months on the benches of the courts and through the media over a violent altercation that occurred in November 2021 at Blanc-Mesnil (Seine-Saint-Denis), for which the coach had already been released in April by the Bobigny Criminal Court.
“I am happy that the magistrates have shown common sense. (…) I may be able to live normally”reacted Alain Schmitt, at the end of the hearing. “It was a lot of waiting, a lot of doubts, a lot of words to take, things that I had a lot of trouble taking in and today I am relieved”, he added. For her part, Margaux Pinot was not present at the hearing and did not wish to react to this decision, said her lawyer, Rachid Madid.
Two opposite versions
The 28-year-old judoka claims to have received numerous blows to the face by Alain Schmitt, which her ex-companion, 38, has always denied. As in the first instance, the prosecution had requested on appeal a one-year suspended prison sentence for Alain Schmitt. His first release, which the prosecution had appealed, had aroused indignation in French judo.
During the two trials, one in Bobigny in December, the second in Paris in April, the two athletes did not change their line of defense, delivering contradictory accounts of the events that took place at the judoka’s home. Linked on the tatami by a coach-athlete relationship at the Etoile Sportive du Blanc-Mesnil club, Alain Schmitt and Margaux Pinot have had a confidential love affair since 2017.
When he was to fly to Israel a few hours later to take up the post of coach of the women’s national team, the technician argued in the middle of the night with Margaux Pinot. He described a woman mad with rage and jealousy who threw herself on him, before a fight, like a “tornado”, based on judo holds, bursts. The duo violently bumped into walls and objects in the apartment, according to their account. Mr. Schmitt denies having dealt the slightest blow to his companion.
The scene played out very differently according to Margaux Pinot, who recounts a surge of violence from her then coach. “He slams my head two, three times on the floor. Then he goes to strangle me”she detailed on several occasions. “It was probably judo that saved me”, she had added to the bar. Many bruises were observed the following days on the two protagonists.
Alain Schmitt ultimately never left for Israel and now trains the Bulgarian judo teams. As for Margaux Pinot, she won a bronze medal at the European Judo Championships in Sofia, also in Bulgaria, at the end of April.