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Golden Camille Lacourt

Top 10 : France's Gold Hopes at the 2012 Olympics

By Matthieu Boisseau

Paris may have lost the 2012 Olympics bidding race, but there is no doubt France will get its revenge by hogging the top of the podiums in London. As the saying goes : revenge is a dish best served cold.

As there are only 15 months left before the London 2012 games, it is time to have a look at France’s best chances for Olympic gold. If you are a French supporter planning to attend one of the Olympic competitions, then you should choose one of the following sports. Massive injection of national pride guaranteed when the Marseillaise rings out during the medal ceremony.


Athletics :

Teddy Tamgho :

Teddy Tamgho
Teddy Tamgho

Sport : Triple Jump.

Best known as : Jonathan Edward's heir


The 21-year old French triple jumper is now third on the world all-time ranking list in the triple jump, with the 17.98 metres he achieved last year in New York. He has also been holding the world indoor record with 17.92m since he won the 2010 European Indoor Championship in Paris.


As he is now coached by long jump legend, Cuba's Ivan Pedroso, Teddy Tamgho is sure to leave his mark in London. He could even kill two (golden) birds with one stone  : winning the Olympic final, and beating Jonathan Edwards' 18.29m world record. There is undoubtedly a place for this fearless, ambitious and impetuous athlete in track-and-field history.

Main opponent : The World and European reigning champion Londoner Phillips Idowu defeated Tamgho in the last two major outdoor competitions. But does bad luck really come in threes?


Renaud Lavillenie :

Sport : Pole Vault

Best known as : The flying Frenchman


Flying Lavillenie
Flying Lavillenie

The explosive French athlete now regularly clears more than 6 meters since climbing to the top rank of world pole vaulting. He is now focused on winning the 2012 Olympics, before trying to beat Sergey Bubka's mythical 6.16m World record.

Lavillenie is talented and hard-working enough to do it, and his recent triumph at the the 2010 European Indoor Championship in Paris undoubtedly boosted his confidence. Let's see what he can do at the Olympics.

Main opponent : Australia's Steve Hooker, the world and Olympic reigning champion, has a fabulous attitude and great experience, and he  knows perfectly how to surpass himself in the major events.




Teddy Riner

Teddy Riner
Teddy Riner

Sport : Heavyweight (+100 kg)

Best know as : The giant


Four time World champion Teddy Riner is looking for his first Olympic gold, after merely walking away with bronze in 2008.  He is not yet 23 but the Olympic gold is the only title he is still to win , so there is no doubt the 2.04 m (6 ft 8 1⁄2 in) and 286 lb (130 kg) Guadeloupe-born genius will be ready for the Olympics. His superhuman power is probably his best asset.


Main opponent : Himself. Teddy Riner has sometimes trouble imposing his rhythm in a fight. But as this Olympic event, there is no doubt he will go beyond his limits.




Grégory Baugé :

Sport : Track cycling

Best know as  : The colossus


Grégory Baugé
Grégory Baugé

Eight-times world champion Grégory Baugé is in the best shape of his life. In March 2011, the Frenchman won the sprint at the world track cycling championships for the third year in a row, proving he is the man to beat for Britain's sprinters.

With his dazzling power and his impressive competitive spirit, Grégory Baugé could help France capture both the individual and team world titles, with his team-mates Kévin Sireau, Mickaël Bourgain, and François Pervis. He is the French cycling team's best chance to redeem itself after Beijing's failure, as the country won two track cycling medals only: silver in the team sprint behind Britain, and bronze for Mickaël Bourgain in the sprint.


Main opponents : In 2008, Sir Chris Hoy entered British Olympic history with a triple gold performance in Beijing. As the veteran is now on the decline, it could be the turn of his young protégé Jason Kenny to go for gold. Grégory Baugé knows very well that he will have to compete against two formidable opponents. Will he be strong enough to take up the challenge.


Whitewater slalom


Tony Estanguet

Sport : C-1

Best known as : The Mastermind


Estanguet won the gold in 2000 and 2004
Estanguet won the gold in 2004

After a failure such as his at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics - he finished in the 9th position in the semi-finals of the C-1 event and was thus eliminated from the final -, most of athletes would have given up. But that was without allowing for the 2000 and 2004 gold medallist's inextinguishable thirst for gold. After some introspection, Tony Estanguet realised that his approach to competition was not serene enough. This self-analysis enabled him to recover from his disillusionment by winning the 2009 and 2010 World Championships. London 2012 provides him with a fantastic opportunity to end his career on a high, before running for the IOC Committee.


Main opponent : It has been one of the most thrilling duels in sport history, and the London Olympic final will be the last chapter of the never-ending rivalry between C1 slalom stars Tony Estanguet and Slovak Michal Martikan. The two men won the last four Olympic titles, and 7 out of the 9 previous World Championships. Who will have the last word ?


Modern pentathlon :

Amélie Cazé


Amélie Cazé
Amélie Cazé

Sport :  To those who don't know what Modern pentathlon is : this is a sports contest that includes five events: pistol shooting, épée fencing, 200 m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3 km cross-country run. It was invented by the Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, and it is really thrilling to watch. It requires athletes to be extremely well-rounded in order to get the highest number of points.

Best known as : The unknown queen

It is fair to say that France does not really pay attention to one of its best athletes. Last year, Amelie Caze won her third individual World Championship crown and helped the French team to win gold at the 2010 World Champions in Chengdu. However, it seems that was not enough to make her emerge from obscurity. After two honourable places at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics (respectively finishing  in the 12th and 9th positions), it is now time for her to go for gold...and fame ?

Main opponent : In the team's event, it will be a harsh battle between Britain and France. Let's hope it will be a remake of the World Championships in China last the Britain's women won silver at the modern pentathlon, behind France.

Swimming :

Camille Lacourt


Camille Lacourt
Camille Lacourt

Sport : 50m and 100m Backstroke

Best known as : the French Apollo

This athlete made the news last year at the European Aquatics Championships, not only because he won 3 gold medals, but also because the crowd - mostly women - discovered his blues eyes and his Ken-like  smile. since becoming increasingly popular in France, he is now recognized as one of the figurehead of French swimming. He is more than able to shine at the Olympics, as he is second on the world all-time ranking list in the 100m Backstroke, not to mention he had the world’s top time in both the 50 and 100m distances last year.


Main opponents : If he competes in the 100m Backstroke, triple Olympic gold medallists Ryan Lochte will be a dangerous opponent. In the 50m, English backstroke swimmer Liam Tancock, who holds the world record, will also be a major threat for the Frenchman.

Alain Bernard, Fabien Gillot, Yannick Agnel, Frédérick Bousquet

Sport : 4×100 m Freestyle Relay

Best known as : The Fantastic Four


Alain Bernard, Fabien Gillot, Yannick Agnel, Frédérick Bousquet
Alain Bernard, Fabien Gillot, Yannick Agnel, Frédérick Bousquet


After several disillusionments at the 2008 Olympic Games, and at the World and European Championships, the 4×100 m Freestyle French Relay finally won the gold medal at the 2010 World Swimming Championships (25 m) in Dubaï. Composed of 4 of the best sprinters in the world, the French team has been considered as the best for several years, but they have had trouble coping with the pressure. In this Olympic competition, it will be all the more crucial for them to win the gold medal in the teams event than Brazil's Cesar Cielo is just unbeatable in the individual race.

Main opponents : the American Relay, which includes swimming legend Michael Phelps, is always at its best at the Olympics. They have been France's bête noire until now...




Sport : The men's team épée

Best know as : The Musketeers


Jérôme Jeannet
Jérôme Jeannet


Jérôme Jeannet, Jean-Michel Lucenay, Ulrich Robeiri, Gauthier Grumier : these men are the new Musketeers. Simply imagine : they have been undefeated in the World Championships and Olympic Games for 7 years ! They embody France's amazing performance levels in fencing, as the country has won an astounding 115 medals since 1896, becoming the most successful French Olympic athletes.

Main opponents : Long-standing rivals Italy may be the major threat for the French fencers.




Sport : The men's handball tournament

Best known as : Les Experts


Les Experts of handball

Les Experts of handball

Karabatic, Fernandez, Dinart, Abalo, Omeyer : these names are probably unknown in England, but in France, nobody can ignore them.  These men are members of the French handball team, current reigning European Champions and Olympic Champions as well as double defending World Champions. They are nicknamed Les Experts and they are quite simply unbeatable. This squad is probably the best team in all French sport history.

Main opponents : to be brutally one can beat them, except the weariness of gold maybe.

Last time in Beijing, France hoovered up 41 medals in total, including 7 golds. It was their best performance since 1920, but they ended tenth in the medals table only , due to the poor number of titles they won. Minister of Sport Chantal Jouanno set an ambitious objective for the 2012 Olympics : 14 gold medals. According to Franceinlondon's expectations, 10 medals are within reach. In your opinion, who can be the other 4  French gold-diggers ?


03/03/2013 - Ameeta said :


12/06/2012 - henrybrown117 said :

england > france

21/05/2012 - unicornsruletheworld said :

très bon, mais je ne pense que l'équipe cycliste française gagnerait en obtenant un nouveau membre, peut-être une licorne? juste une simple suggestion

21/05/2012 - bambam2000 said :

add more turnips

21/05/2012 - blablacoolkid said :

very interesting lacks unicorns but still okay!

16/05/2012 - desimctague23 said :

I need to make a citation page for a project on olympic perticapants from france and mines on Amélie Cazé
though i need information on the author of this web page along with date posted and year. can anyone help

16/05/2012 - 11langforde said :

Combien d'athlètes sont compeating à la olyimpics de Londres en 2012 de la France? Merci beaucoup!

10/05/2012 - Emmarodger1 said :

Good info

28/04/2012 - mouquet_serge said :

Eh ! Je pense que vous pouvez rajouter Julien Bontemps en planche RSX...

03/03/2012 - g said :

wheres lemaitre

26/02/2012 - cgel said :

J'ai tellement hate d'y être et de les voir tous décrocher une mé suis une des volontaires basée au village olympique et je me considère comme la fille la plus chanceuse du monde... Allez la France, nous sommes tous derrière vous! :)))

26/08/2011 - chouby31 said :

Ben ça fait déjà 13 votre classement avec Camille Lacourt sur 2 épreuves ainsi que les épreuves par équipe de pentathlon et de vitesse sur piste... Pour la dernière, je vois bien Julien Absalon en VTT qui pourrait, à l'instar de Tony Estanguet, briguer son troisième titre en 3 olympiades différentes (ça serait vraiment beau que les 2 fasses ça !). Ça pourrait également venir de l'aviron où l'on a 2 bateaux champions du monde en titre, ou encore de la gym avec Thomas Bouhail ou pourquoi pas du taekwendo avec Gwladys Epangue.

On a rarement eu autant de favoris en France je pense, ça promet de beaux J-O !

Le seul truc dommage, c'est que les filles risquent une nouvelle fois de ne pas rapporter beaucoup de médailles... j'espère me tromper... (y a pas mal de potentiel en judo notamment)


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