Jean-Baptiste Alaize's outstanding story of overcoming adversity is told in the Netflix documentary 'Rising Phoenix' released on August 2020, where he is featured among nine Paralympians.
The Frenchman and two-time Paralympian, who took bronze at the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships, suffered from a traumatic childhood as he had his right leg was amputated after being attacked during an armed conflict in Burundi in 1994 at three years old. "They gave me a machete in the back, arm and leg. They left me for dead but I survived." He even witnessed his mother being assassinated.
After years in an orphanage, he was adopted by a French family and moved to Montelimar, France, in 1998. He took up the sport at 14 at school. Initially he wanted to hide his prosthesis from his classmates, but after he helped his team win a relay race, he was no longer ashamed. Alaize admits to enjoying long jump especially since it gives him the "sensation of flying."
He returned to Burundi in March 2013 and met his two sisters and other family members.
"I felt in my heart the need to know the truth about my past." In 2017, with the organisation Peace and Sports, he staged a sports competition called 'The Friendship Games of the Big Lakes' with young people from Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "I wanted to show the kids that despite if we are Hutus or Tutsis, we can live together. Time has gone by, I do not have any more hate."
Further personal information
Sport specific information
He was involved in a road accident while driving his scooter home in February 2015, which resulted in torn ligaments in his left leg. He returned to training in September 2015. (leparisien.fr, 10 Mar 2015; Facebook page, 02 Sep 2015)
He suffered from a slipped disc in November 2014. (leparisien.fr, 10 Mar 2015)
In 2020 he moved to Florida in the United States of America to train ahead of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, and remained there in 2020 and 2021 after the postponement of the Games. He said the move was a result of attitudes towards race and people with impairments in France. "When I arrived in France and faced racism, it was very hard to see and hear such wicked racism, so I knew that was going to be very difficult. I have felt hatred, racism, and people's negative views on disability more than once. I'll never understand this. I needed to take stock and in Florida, there is a different mentality. I don't want people to think I'm at war with my country, not at all. But it's like a couple, if you don't say things, it's never going to progress. You have to talk to try to influence change." (Instagram profile, 16 Mar 2021; sport.francetvinfo.fr, 02 Sep 2020; paralympic.org, 10 Oct 2020)
He witnessed his mother being murdered when he was age three during the Burundian Civil War, in the same attack that resulted in his impairment. After several years in an orphanage, he was adopted by a French family and moved to Montelimar, France, in 1998. He returned to Burundi in March 2013 and met his two sisters and other family members. "I felt in my heart the need to know the truth about my past." In 2017, with the organisation Peace and Sports, he staged a sports competition called The Friendship Games of the Big Lakes with young people from Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "I wanted to show the kids that despite if we are Hutus or Tutsis, we can live together. Time has gone by, I do not have any more hate." (jb-alaize.com, 06 Mar 2014; francetvsport.fr, 31 Aug 2012; lejdd.fr, 06 Jul 2018; leparisien.fr, 26 Dec 2017)
He featured in the 2020 Netflix film 'Rising Phoenix', which focused on the stories of nine Para athletes. "It's crazy. I keep getting messages saying, 'It's great!' [There are] too many emotions. I cried. I accepted this project without even knowing its size. I knew it was going to be fun, because the director [Ian Bonhote] had done a huge job for the documentary on [fashion designer] Alexander McQueen, but honestly not at that point. I was even able to talk to Prince Harry. It's a dream come true. And something that I hope will change my life. (sport.francetvinfo.fr, 02 Sep 2020)
In 2021 a biopic film about his life called 'Mouguicha' was planned to be released, in which he played himself. He previously played a role in the French film 'Tout le Monde Debout' [Stand Up, Everybody]. "I am ready to take the risk to be the actor of my own story. There isn't any other, rather than me, who knows the feelings of my story. Nothing will be acted. Today I have the impression that my life is a film. I wanted the film to be named 'The Fabulous Destiny of Jean-Baptiste Alaize' but Mouguicha is stronger. That is my real name and it means the 'Lucky and Happiness Boy'. I changed my name after being adopted." (20minutes.fr, 17 Feb 2019; Facebook page, 14 Mar 2018)
|Men's 200 m T44||Heat 2||2011-01-23||4|
|Men's 200 m T44||Final||2011-01-24||8|
|Men's Long Jump F44||Final||2011-01-25||6|
|Men's 100 m T44||Heat 1||2011-01-25||4|
|Men's Long Jump F42/44||Final Round||2012-08-31||7|
|Men's 200 m T44||Heat 1||2012-09-01||5|
|Men's 100 m T44||Heat 2||2012-09-05||5|
|Men's 4x100 m T42-46||Final Round||2012-09-05||9999|
|Men's 100 m T44||Semifinal 1||2013-07-22||10|
|Men's Long Jump T44||Final 1||2013-07-24||7|
|Men's 4x100 m T42-47||Final 1||2013-07-27||5|
|Men's Long Jump T44||Final Round||2016-09-17||5|
|Men's Long Jump T44||Final 1||2017-07-17||3|