After the abrupt resignation of French Minister of Sports Laura Flessel on Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron named retired swimmer Roxana Maracineanu to the post. Flessel was a 5-time Olympian for France and the 2012 Olympic flag-bearer. An épée fencer with 5 Olympic medals (2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze), she is the most decorated Frenchwoman in Olympic history.
Maracineanu was born in Romania but sought political asylum in France with her family in 1984 when she was 9. She became France’s first female world champion in swimming in 1998, winning the 200m back at FINA World Championships in Perth. The following year she took gold in the 200 back and bronze in the 100 back at the 1999 European Championships in Istanbul. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Maracineanu won a silver medal in the 200 back with a French National Record of 2:10.25 (Laure Manaudou’s 2008 time of 2:06.64 is the current mark).
Maracineanu enters the Édouard Philippe government with little political experience. She was elected to the Regional government in the Parisian Region in 2010, where she represented the Socialist Party and served until 2015.