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Most famous French sport professionals – Part V


  • Marie-José Pérec (picture below) is a specialist in the 200 and 400 m, and a triple Olympic champion. She won the Olympic Games 3 times; the 400m in 1992 and 1996 and the 200m in 1996. But her first major international success happened in 1991, when she became World Champion in the 400 m in Tokyo. She became World Champion again in the 400m 4 years later. In addition to the Olympic and World titles, Pérec also won the European Championships: the 400 m individual and 4×400 m relay titles in Helsinki in 1994.

Marie-José Pérec World Champion in the 400 m

  • Christine Arron is a track and field sprint athlete, competing internationally for France. She was named 1998 European Women’s Athlete of the Year, after winning the 100m at the European Athletics Championships, breaking the European record in the process. Arron was also the last runner of the French 4 X 100 relay team which upset the heavy favourites USA to win the gold medal in the 2003 World Championships in Athletics held in Paris. She recovered from 3 m behind the new 100 m World Champion, Torri Edwards, to give to the Stade de France crowd an unpredictable joy.

She won the bronze medal in the 4×100m relay at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

In August 2005 she won a bronze medal in the 100 m and in the 200 m at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics.

Christine Arron

Arron is the holder of the second-fastest 100 m performance ever (10.73). Considering the controversy surrounding the performances of world record-holder, Florence Griffith-Joyner, many consider Arron’s performance to be the ‘true’ world record.

In CYCLING, we can name champions such as Laurent Fignon, Bernard Hinault, Laurent Jalabert, Richard Virenque to name just a few…

  • Jeannie Longo (born on October 31st, 1958 in Annecy)

Jeannie Longo famous French female racing cyclist

Longo is widely considered as the greatest female racing cyclists of all times. She won her first world titles in 1984, when her actual rivals of 2008 were not born yet. She is famous for her competitive nature and her exceptional longevity. She has an extraordinary record, with 68 national and international titles.

She was selected to represent France in the 2008 Olympics, her seventh Olympic Games. She stated that this was her final participation in the Olympics. In the Women’s road race, she finished 24th, 33 seconds behind winner Nicole Cooke, who was one year old when Longo first rode in the Olympics. At the same Olympics, she finished 4th in the road time trial, just two seconds of securing a bronze medal. If Jeannie Longo had not faced a problem with her cycle (a piece broke), she would have surely got a medal.


Longo was born in Annecy, in the French Alps where she began her athletic career as a downhill skier. After winning the French schools’ ski championship and three university skiing championships, she switched to cycling at the urging of her coach (and later husband) Patrice Ciprelli. Within a few months, Longo won the French road race Championship. She was 21. Longo has more than 900 career victories, the most of any cyclist in history. Her list of titles include: an Olympic gold medal, 3 Tour de France titles, 38 world records, 52 national titles and 13 world titles.

In addition to her sport, Longo distinguished herself in the academic field. She has been awarded academic degrees in Mathematics (B.S.), an MBA, and a doctorate in sports management.

She competed both in road and track bicycle racing events. Her impressive record includes:

Olympic Games road race: Gold Medal/Champion (1996); Silver Medal (1992)
Olympic Games time trial: Silver Medal (1996); Bronze Medal (2000)
Participated 7 times in: 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008.

5x UCI Road Race World Championship: Gold Medal/Champion (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1995)
4x UCI Time Trial World Championship: Gold Medal/Champion (1995, 1996, 1997, 2001)
4x UCI Track World Championship:
Points Race: Gold Medal/Champion (1989)
3 km Pursuit: Gold Medal/Champion (1986, 1988, 1989); Silver Medal (1984, 1985, 1987); Bronze Medal (1981, 1982, 1983)
UCI Mountain Bike Championship: Silver Medal (1993)
15x French Road Race Champion: 1979 to 1989, 1992, 1995, 2006, 2008
7x French Time Trial Champion: 1995, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008
3x Tour Cycliste Feminin / Grande Boucle: 1987, 1988, 1989
2x Women’s Challenge: 1991, 1999
Set Hour Record (45.094 km/h) in 2000 in Mexico City (14 years after setting the best hour performance record)

Jeannie Longo famous French female racing cyclist

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