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Laura Flessel-Colovic

Laura Flessel-ColovicLaura Flessel-ColovicLaura Flessel-ColovicLaura Flessel-ColovicLaura Flessel-Colovic

Laura Flessel-Colovic, born 6 November 1971 in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe is a French épée fencer. She is currently number one on the all-time list of French female Winter or Summer Olympic medal winners with five medals, two more than those on joint second place: Micheline Ostermeyer, Marielle Goitschel, Pascale Trinquet-Hachin, Perrine Pelen, Anne Briand-Bouthiaux, Marie-José Pérec, Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, Félicia Ballanger and Laure Manaudou. Before 2007, she was a member of the Levallois Sporting Club Escrime. Nowadays she works with Lagardère Paris Racing. She is married to a French journalist and has one daughter Leilou, who is seven years old. She juggles her fencing career with another, promoting business travel for a Paris tourism office. Laura Flessel-Colovic got hooked on fencing at the age of seven after seeing French legend Jean-Francois Lamour on television. She abandoned her dance classes to join the local fencing club and gradually made her way up through local and regional ranks. She left her family and friends at 19 and moved to Paris to focus on her career. Her hard work and intensive training was amply rewarded when she won the Pan American Championships in 1991, 1992 and 1994. She also came in third at the 1995 World Championships.

Laura grabbed everyone’s attention with a pair of gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. She finished as the runner-up in the 1997 World Cup Fencing and followed it up with three world championship titles in 1998 and 1999. She managed to garner a bronze at the World Championships in 2001, after giving birth to her daughter earlier that year. Though she was suspended for testing positive in a drug test, Laura Flessel-Colovic came back strongly and stunned the world at the Athens Olympics in 2004, winning two medals – a silver and a bronze medal in the epee individual and team events, respectively. She was banned for three months in 2002 after failing a doping test. She tested positive for the banned substance coramine glucose. She blamed the French team doctors for giving her a drug that is available over the counter in France. She also became a two-time winner in the World Cup by claiming the title at individual epee event in 2002 and 2003. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she made it to the Quarterfinals in the Women’s Individual Epee.

Laura Flessel-Colovic was nicknamed “la Guepe-the Wasp” for her aggressive and competitive nature at the grounds. She is the only participant to win five medals among the French female Summer and Winter Olympic medal winners. Her success also turned her into a heroine in the sport pages. She joined the French world and European champion soccer team as a positive icon of her country’s multiethnic visage. Known as the 'wasp' due to her fiery temperament Flessel's signature is a thrust at an opponents ankles, a surprise tactic that has won her countless duels. The 36-year-old was the gold medallist at the women's inaugural epee tournament at Atlanta 1996 and has a bronze from Sydney and a silver from Athens in what she terms the 'complete set'. In Atlanta at the individual event she beat compatriot Valerie Barlois in the final, the same fencer who helped her win the team gold along with Sophie Moressee-Pichot.

Her aggressive nature and good looks made her an instant darling of the media and her only two world titles to date came before the Sydney Games, in 1998 and 1999. She was one of the hot favourites down under but a semi-final defeat saw her go home with just an individual bronze. Following Atlanta she was wed to Denis Colovic, giving birth to a daughter Leilou in 2001, but was back in shape at the world championships that year where she reached the final. Then came the shock of a positive doping test in May, 2002 for which she was handed a three month ban. Traces of coramine-glucose were found in her system following a World Cup event, although a French team doctor, who has since resigned, admitted administering the drug to all French team members including Flessel. She has since bounced back resisting the temptation of retirement to compete at the 2004 Games in Athens and the move paid off as she left the Greek capital with two more medals.

"I am both proud and sad because I came for gold but at least now I have the complete collection of medals to show to my daughter," she said following her defeat against Hungarian Timea Nagy in the epee final and a bronze in the team event. She has been selected to be France's flag-bearer at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in London. It will be her fifth Olympics.

Career competition Results at: www.sports-reference.com

source: www.wikipedia.org


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