This morning, 15 August, France has a total of 22 Olympic medals at the Rio Olympic Games: seven gold, eight silver and seven bronze. Of the 15 new Olympic champions and vice-champions, over half are from the military contingent which has won 10 medals: three gold (team cross-country equestrian event, men’s team épée, women’s RSX [windsurfer]) and six silver (4×100 mens freestyle swimming relay, 50m men’s freestyle swimming, women’s middleweight judo, women’s half heavyweight judo, rapid fire 25m pistol shooting, men’s team foil). The bronze medal was won in the men’s cycling team speed sprint.
Daniel Jerent, volunteer deputy gendarme, last night won the men’s team épée gold medal. Together with his civilian team mates Yannick Borel, Gauthier Grumier and Jean-Michel Lucenay he beat the Italians 45-31.
Petty Officer Charline Picon is the new RSX Olympic champion with 64 points beating Chinese competitor Peina Chen who had 66 points and Russia’s Stefania Elfutina with 69 points.
Sergeant Florent Manaudou won the 50m freestyle men’s swimming. But whereas many athletes would be thrilled with that result, Manaudou was bitterly disappointed having expected, like the French public, to renew his exploit at the London Olympics in 2012 when he became Olympic Champion. He lost his title by a miserable one-hundredth of a second, beaten by the American Anthony Ervin who swam in 21″40 touching the end board a fingertip in front of Manaudou who covered the distance in 21″41. In the semi-finals he had swum in 21″32. “I felt good in the 4×100, in the series and in the semis too,” he explained, adding that he’d swum better in the semi-final than the final. “The opposite of four years ago.”
Private Audrey Tcheuméo won the half heavyweight judo silver medal beating American Kayla Harrison despite a lip injury she sustained during her quarter final against British competitor Natalie Powell, which was bleeding significantly enough to warrant the match being interrupted so she could receive medial attention. Less than two minutes later the 2011 World Champion returned to the tatami to finish her match, the bottom half of her face heavily bandaged.
Volunteer deputy gendarme Jean Quiquampoix will be returning from his first Olympiads as vice Olympic champion in the rapid fire 25m pistol shooting event.
“This medal is beautiful but nevertheless a mini deception because I wanted to win,” he said, adding that he’d had “a lot of pressure to start with and then it fell. But at the end one’s pulse accelerates and it’s really hard to shoot accurately so I’m pleased that I shot well.” The 20-year old gendarme is now aiming for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Aircraftman Enzo Lefort won the silver medal in the men’s team foil with civilian team mates
Jérémy Cadot, Erwann Le Péchoux and Jean-Paul Tony Helissey. They were beaten 45-41 by the Russians despite having led by nine points at the midway mark (25-16). But the Russians took advantage of Cadot’s difficulties and then Helissey – who had not taken part in the individual competition – to surge ahead (40-38) and stay there.
The only “military” bronze medal to date has been won by Privates Michael d’Almeida and François Pervis in the cycling team sprint with team mate Grégory Baugé. D’Almeida is another one who, unfortunately, will be coming home disappointed as he’d been vice Olympic Champion at the London Olympics.