Франция / France

The homeland of the founder of the Olympic movement Pierre de COUBERTIN, France were one of the founder members of the Olympic Games.

The first French Olympic champion was fencer Eugene Henri GRAVELOTTE, who won the individual foil in Athens in 1896. The most successful French Olympians have come from this sport.

 Roger DUCRET won the men's foil at the Paris 1924 Olympic Games and added two team gold. He also claimed four silver medals and a bronze over three Olympic Games in the 1920s.

 His teammate Phillippe CATTIAU won three team gold medals in a career that spanned five successive Olympic Games. He made his debut at the Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games, collecting two silver medals, won gold on home soil in the Paris 1924 Games, and won two further gold medals in Los Angeles in 1932. He ended his career with a bronze at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games.

 France did well the last time the Olympic Games were held in London in 1948.

Concert pianist Micheline OSTERMEYER was one of the stars in the field events. She won both the discus and shot put, and took bronze in the high jump.

The French also enjoyed great success in cycling. Jose BEYAERT won gold in the individual road race, Jacques DUPONT took the 1000m time trial and the French quartet won the 4000m team pursuit.

At the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games, his Tour de France exploits still to come, Jacques ANQUETIL made his only Olympic Games appearance, taking bronze in the team road race.

Christian D'ORIOLA won two gold medals in fencing in 1952 and his cousin Pierre JONQUERES d'ORIOLA was France's greatest equestrian talent. He won individual showjumping gold at the Helsinki 1952 Games and repeated the feat at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, aged 44. His Olympic career ended in 1968, having spanned five Olympic Games, from which he also collected two silver medals. Collette BESSON won the 400m at the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games after a thrilling race against British runner Lillian BOARD.

Cyclist Daniel MORELON won two of his three gold medals at the velodrome at Mexico 1968 and added a third gold in Munich in 1972. His compatriot Pierre TRENTIN was a double gold medallist at the Mexico Games.

At the Montreal 1976 Games, Guy DRUT won 110m hurdles gold to end an American winning streak, and the French showjumping team won the last gold medal of those Games.

 The legendary Michel PLATINI played for France's football team at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games but a gold medal in football did not arrive until the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. France beat Brazil in a final held in Pasadena. Marie Jose PEREC is the most successful French competitor in athletics. She won 400m gold at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games and followed up with the 200m/400m double at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. David DOUILLET was the most successful of many French judoka. He won heavyweight gold at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games and retained his title at Sydney 2000.

Cecile NOWAK was the first French winner when women's judo was admitted at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.

Swimmer Laure MANADOU claimed gold, silver and bronze at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

Fellow swimmer Alain BERNARD also won a full set of medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.