Manaudou’s Handball Lineage, Full Translation of Facebook Statement

In early March 2016, while he was still dreaming of being the first swimmer since Alexander Popov to pull off the 50/100m freestyle double in an Olympic Games, France’s Florent Manaudou confided in the newspaper La Provence, “My absolute dream would be to take part in the Olympic Games in two different sports.” The declaration came during the Golden Tour tune-up meet at his home club, CN Marseille, a month before French Long Course Nationals and Olympic Trials.

Manaudou went on to say that he had played handball for ten years. His father was a handball player, and as Manaudou admitted, “I am lucky to have the genetic makeup that allows me to be explosive,” which helps him “to do pretty well for [himself] in a lot of sports.” He went on to say that even if it’s pretentious to think he could be a member of the French national team, he would nevertheless like to play the sport at some point. “I don’t know if it would be 2, 4 or 8 years, but if I were to get there one day, to play simply at the professional level, it would be great.”

Fast forward six months. Manaudou, who hadn’t qualified for the 100 free at French Trials, competed in the 50 free at Rio. Despite being only .01 away from the gold medal, he (and the French press, to be truthful) was disappointed with his performance. He announced he would be taking a break and would make a decision concerning his future on October 1st.

Today, Manaudou released the following press release (translated by SwimSwam) on his Facebook page:


An Air Bubble in the Lanes

Just after the Olympic Games in Rio, I began thinking about what my [post-Rio] life would be and what I truly wanted to do at the beginning of the new sporting year.

Coming off 2 cycles of 4 years, culminating in two Olympic medals, I want to preserve, and to hang onto, the pleasure that has been my driving force during these past 8 years. In agreement with my club, CN Marseille, its president and its head coach, I have decided to continue my affiliation with this club that gave me the means to achieve my sporting goals.

However, I also thought about the itineraries of other swimmers such as my sister Laure, the late Camille Muffat, and most recently Yannick Agnel. I also learned from the life lesson that Anthony Ervin gave with his winning comeback, or the way Michael Phelps has managed his career.

These examples make me not want to make hasty or radical decisions, or to continue without pleasure for the wrong reasons.

I have thus decided to take a break from my triple daily workouts (2 sessions of swimming and 1 session of weights), yet still remain an active swimmer who will compete in a few meets this year.*

At the same time, I want to find the inspiration in the practices that pull me toward the highest point. In order to silence the fantasies and speculations, I have in fact begun to train with the second team of the club Aix Handball because I quit this team sport, which complements swimming, too early. I am doing it with no other ambition than to give the best of myself and to find a different source of pleasure.

The world in which I move brings with it a lot of media pressure and I don’t want that to ruin my chances to one day earn another Olympic medal for France. Therefore I want to give myself the conditions [necessary] to start anew.

Fame has allowed me to meet exceptional people in such diverse areas as business, racing, acting, music, gastronomy, etc. I plan to explore with them those areas that attract me.

I will make myself even more available to the partners who have been supportive of me until now, and I will devote myself to the companies in which I am a shareholder (the restaurant “The Pool” and the coaching platform “Wineven”).

Sportingly yours.

* I will swim at the upcoming Meeting de Tahiti from October 7-10, and at the French Interclub Championships on November 5-6.


Our earlier report on Manaudou’s announcement is here.

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5 years ago

I have friends in the army who have won medals in combat . They don’t get this latitude .

‘Hey Brigadier – I’m over the swimming & hopping over to Handball. Keep paying me oh I’m not available for Li bya etc .’

‘Thats fantastic Captain – would you like to go up a rank ? ‘


5 years ago

Who translated this?

Reply to  Swim
5 years ago

Manaudou likes good food and opened a restaurant, so that’s what “gastronomy” refers to.

Tom from Chicago
5 years ago

Very healthy thing to do. Good for him.

bobo gigi
5 years ago

So it’s not a total break from swimming. He will continue to train during that period but very lightly. Just for fun.
Anyway that was necessary. If you want a long and successful career you need to refresh at different moments.

Other news from another French swimmer Camille Lacourt. Still not sure but it looks like he really wants to continue until Budapest 2017 but just in the 50 back with the dream of retiring with a gold and a world record. Budapest is a very good memory for him. He won the 50 back and the 100 back and swam his best times there at European championships in 2010 (24.07/52.11).

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

Phelps (but he is on a planet apart as the GOAT) and Ervin (but his story is a unique one, since he retired very young as a double winner at Olympics and Worlds, so he is a unique talent indeed) have had a winning comeback, but that wasn’t the case of Laure Manaudou, Camille Muffat (rip) and Yannick Agnel.

Predictions about Florent Manaudou? Difficult to say, because he’s still relatively young for the pure sprint, and his great power is (and will be) still there, but I remind that his target for last season was to become a great 100 freestyler, a potential medalist (at least) for the individual Olympic race, and that didn’t happen. Moreover, he lost the 50… Read more »

Reply to  paolo
5 years ago

Yeah his 100 really wasn’t that good on the 4×100 relay what was it again 47.1? Non-elite ….he was off Ervin was on simple as that as far as the 50 goes

5 years ago

Here’s an IQ test: What would be more fun, training three times a day for the rare big, adrenalin-pumping swim meet or playing handball?

Reply to  swimdoc
5 years ago

If he trained 3 times a day then he was overtrained.

Reply to  swimdoc
5 years ago


5 years ago

At some point he had to surrender and waive the white flag, it’s in his DNA.

5 years ago

His story just shows how crazy the 50-100 double is becoming. I’m gonna say he has more raw speed and explosive talent than Ervin, but him doing triples with the goal of winning an Olympic 100 (Imagine for yourself how many back end pace 50s he did with that goal in mind and psychologically how demanding that is) negated his speed advantage off the block in the long term(1 yr). Dude is the only guy living who can do a 20. In a jammer LC. I think we’ll see it before he retires. Not sure if that means him winning a gold though. As we’ve seen, you never know at the olympics.

Reply to  Murica
5 years ago

Any doubters of my 20. Theory go back and watch 2014 SCM WC. 20.2 and 22.2 back but only 45,7 100 when he had been 45.0 before. Clearly when dude is prepared for 50s…

20.2 is 17.9/18.0 btw

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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