France

Athletics in France
With a few notable exceptions, French athletics is not enjoying one of its most successful periods in the modern era. With no World Record holders to speak of and only one reigning World (2011) or Olympic (2012) Champion, the country desperately yearns success on the global stage.

Past athletes who have achieved the distinction of being genuine world-beaters include sprinter Christine Arron (=4th all-time over 100m with 10.73), Stephane Diagana (400mH World Champion in 1997 and current European Record Holder), Marie-Jose Perec (see below) and Eunice Barber (former World Champion in both Heptathlon and Long Jump).


Magical Moment

Michael Johnson wasn't the only person to achieve a stunning 200m/400m double at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA. Marie-Jose Perec also completed the feat, which included a sensational 48.25 clocking in the 400m to smash the Olympic Record and set the third fastest time in history (as it remains more than 15 years later). To get relatively close to the 47.60 World Record set by Marita Koch, which is considered by many to be questionable given the circumstances (widespread doping allegations), Perec's time was remarkable.



Current Stars
Christophe Lemaitre has already won three European Golds (100m, 200m and 4x100m) at the age of just 20 and continues to develop as a sprinter. He has gone well under 10 seconds (the first caucasian in an officially-timed event to do so) and won the bronze at the 2011 World Champs over 200m. Pole Vaulter Renaud Lavillenie was hot favourite to win in Daegu but only picked up the bronze, however he made up for this with Olympic gold at London 2012. Mehdi Baala and Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad are excellent distance runners who can mix it with the world's very best.


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France - Renaud LavillenieFrance - Mahiedine Mekhissi-BenabbadFrance - Mehdi BaalaFrance - Christophe Lemaitre