French swimmer Florent Manaudou won the 2015 World Championships in the 50 free, 50 fly, and 400 free relays, and after a pair of silver medals at the 2016 Olympics opted not to defend those medals at the 2017 World Championships. Instead, he took a break from his swim training to explore his abilities in handball.
But that doesn’t mean that Manaudou didn’t race at the World Championships. The 26-year old competed in the media race on Thursday. This tradition at big meets pits members of the media against each other. At Worlds, the teams are pitted against each other in a 200 free relay, split out by the media organization they’re working with.
This year, Manaudou is commentating on the World Championships alongside his sister Laure for Francetv. He, along with two-time Olympic finalist and Francetv photojournalist Xavier Marchand both competed in this year’s media race. NBC wont, with Rowdy Gaines as their best split in 26.92 and Mike Unger, USA Swimming Chief Operating Officer, competing for the NBC team.
Francetv wound up 3rd, in spite of Manaudou’s 23.33 anchor being easily the fastest in the field.
The BBC also put together an impressive relay with former World Champion Karen Pickering, former Olympic Champion and World Record holder Rebecca Adlington, former European Champion Steve Parry, and former Lancaster University Swim Team captain Nick Hope.
Results, as Tweeted out by Unger:
#NBC @RowdyGaines big win for the Yanks! @USASwimStats @USASwimming @jewis627 pic.twitter.com/Doks55vCea
— Mike Unger (@munger87) July 27, 2017
Les images de @FlorentManaudou et @chanmard pendant la course des journalistes aujourd'hui à #Budapest2017 #plaisir #fun #mediarace pic.twitter.com/85CroEURiP
— FFN (@FFNatation) July 27, 2017
No times for the race were released, but Manaudou made headlines of his own on Thursday. He said in an interview Thursday that he might still return for the 2024 Olympics. World Record holder and fellow Olympic sprint champion Cesar Cielo says that he believes Manaudou will be back for 2020, but Manaudou says that he doesn’t know about that.
“There is nothing really motivating me except to see the Japanese organizing the games, which will be better than the Brazilians. If it’s Paris 2024, it sure makes me more tempted. I’ll have to see where I am in seven years.”
Manaudou would be 33 by the Paris 2024 Olympics, but cites Anthony Ervin as his model. Ervin took an extended break after winning Olympic gold in 2000 and eventually won gold again in 2016.
Read more of Manaudou’s interview from L’Equipe, including his thoughts on Camille Lacourt, here.