Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, who will be cycling for Team France in both the women’s mountain bike and road race, was feeling pain from a pinched sciatic nerve in her hip. She tried physiotherapy, osteopathy and even cortisone injections, but the pain never subsided.
France’s team doctor Jacky Maillot had a different strategy.
“Jacky Maillot told me one of his colleagues is a specialist with this problem,” explained Ferrand-Prévot. “After injection of botulinum toxin, I felt it was much better.”
Typically, botulinum toxin, known commercially as Botox, is used to prevent wrinkles but it’s effective at treating muscle spasms.
She had two injections in June and another two before leaving for Rio de Janeiro.
“I have no more pain,” Ferrand-Prévot told L’Equipe. “With an injection, you cannot ride for three days, you cannot race for ten days. [Botox] is not prohibited and the next day, you can train.”
Ferrand-Prévot has had success both on and off-road. In 2015, she became the first person in the history of cycling to simultaneously hold the world road title, cyclo-cross title and mountain bike title. The 24-year old is aiming for her first Olympic medal in Rio.