PEREC Marie-Josť (1969) France / Track and field
The greatest French woman athlete of all times. Her record speaks for itself.She was twice world champion and three times Olympic champion of the long sprint over 200 and 400 m.It was in the 1991 world championships that this girl from Guadeloupe burst on the scene by winning the title over 400 m. One year later in Barcelona she became Olympic champion.Although she had every reason to be satisfied she was careful not to become complacent, so left her French coach and went off to the United States in order to train under one of the best American coaches, John Smith.This choice was a success: she then went on to become double Olympic champion at Atlanta in 1996 one year after a new world title over 400 m. In Georgia she even took the 200 m in front of the favourite, Merlene Ottey.A viral infection, mononucleosis, forced Marie-Josť Perec to leave the world circuit for four years. But on the eve of the Sidney games she took up a new challenge: she wants to become Olympic champion once more and has just settled in Germany. Her trainer this time is the very one who enabled the German Marita Koch to beat the 400 m world record. This arduous work came to nothing. Two days before the heats started, she left Sydney, claiming to have been mugged. This affair was seen in very bad light by the French team and the Australian press as well as her rival Cathy Freeman who won the 400 m without opposition.