April 15, 2024

N°1 : Léon Marchand confirmed

He was eagerly awaited and didn’t disappoint. After making a name for himself with the 200m and 400m medley world champion titles won in Budapest last year, Léon Marchand confirmed the expectations placed in him. Breaking record after record in university competitions in the USA, where he trains under the tutelage of Bob Bowman, the native of…

N°1 : Léon Marchand confirmed

He was eagerly awaited and didn’t disappoint. After making a name for himself with the 200m and 400m medley world champion titles won in Budapest last year, Léon Marchand confirmed the expectations placed in him. Breaking record after record in university competitions in the USA, where he trains under the tutelage of Bob Bowman, the native of Toulouse came to Fukuoka as the favorite in each of the disciplines in which he would compete. From the outset, the figurehead of French swimming made his presence felt. In addition to retaining his 400m medley title, Léon Marchand slammed the world record held for the last fifteen years by legend Michael Phelps, shaving more than a second off it. The image of the medal handed over by the American to his successor remains the one that marked these World Championships. The 200m butterfly, in the absence of Kristof Milakwas a formality for the Tricolore, who took the opportunity to break the French record. Not satisfied, Léon Marchand crushed the 200m medley final the very next day, obliterating the European record held since 2009 by Laszlo Cseh. Despite his contribution, the 4x100m medley and 4x200m freestyle relays had to be content with fourth place. Not enough to tarnish the record of the man who was named the best swimmer of these world championships and who will approach Paris 2024 with the hopes of an entire country on his shoulders.

N°2: Riner and Agbegnenou are eternal

Teddy Riner and Clarisse Agbegnenou have been the spearheads of French judo for years, and they were expected to compete in 2023, and they didn’t miss a beat! At 34, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion fights sparingly to avoid injury, but he added an eleventh medal to his judogi on this historic May 13 in Doha. After beating his five first opponents, he found himself up against Russia’s Inal Tasoev in the final. A final in which he had a big scare when he was countered, but the referee invalidated his opponent’s gesture. In the end, Riner triumphed in the golden score on a waza-ari. A few days later, the Russian also received a gold medal, as his action on the counter was deemed valid. Nevertheless, Riner is back on top, six years after his last world title. For Clarisse Agbegnenou, the feat is even greater. The 31-year-old judoka won her sixth world title, but her very first as a mother, just eleven months after the birth of Athéna. Even breast-feeding her daughter during the day didn’t stop her from winning gold on May 10, beating Slovenia’s Andreja Leski in the final on a hold. Her defeat in the quarter-finals of the European championships in the autumn was a reminder that she may not have as much margin as before, but just as in the past, she’s not as good as she used to be. Riner, Agbegnenou will still be a huge chance of a French medal at the Paris Olympics.

N°3: Julia Simon covers herself in crystal and gold

Four. That’s how many biathlon World Cup victories Julia Simon had before starting the 2022-23 season. But in the space of just one season, the Savoyard has doubled her total. The biathlete, who turned 27 last October, has enjoyed a dream season, crowned by a crystal globe, the first time a Frenchwoman has won since Sandrine Bailly in 2005. Winner of two races at the end of 2022, Julia Simon won the Ruhpolding mass start and four podium finishes between January and March 2023, which also earned her two small globes in the pursuit and mass start. Impervious to pressure