PORTRAIT. Villeneuvois Gilles Cornut, former French XIII international, will carry the Olympic flame on May 22

PORTRAIT. Villeneuvois Gilles Cornut, former French XIII international, will carry the Olympic flame on May 22
PORTRAIT. Villeneuvois Gilles Cornut, former French XIII international, will carry the Olympic flame on May 22

the essential
Arriving in Villeneuve at 2 years old, Gilles Cornut will carry the Olympic flame to Sarlat-la-Canéda on May 22 at 10:30 a.m., an honor for the former French international.

He is one of those little local stars, accessible to all and appreciated for his true value. The first and last name of Gilles Cornut resonate within the confines of the Myre Mory sports complex, in Villeneuve-sur-Lot. The 48-year-old is one of 11,000 people chosen to carry the flame out of the more than 100,000 registered. A Pathfinder, to run 200 meters on May 22 in Sarlat-la-Canéda. They are “selected based on their commitment and their actions to bring to life at least one of the three energies of Paris 2024”, which are those of sport and the Games, territories and the collective. Values ​​advocated by the Olympic committee and the government.

An educator with a big heart

Gilles Cornut represents these perfectly. Close to people, he thrives completely in his profession. For 25 years, he has been a sports instructor at the town hall of Villeneuve-sur-Lot and used to working with schools. He is far from finished with this profession. “I’ve always loved working with children. I did my 3rd grade internship in a primary school. » An “easy” profession for Lot-et-Garonnais, provided it is practiced with passion in his words. A profile quickly retained when sorting registrations.

Registered between August and September, it is his partner Sandrine who submits his application. “As we often talked about the Olympics, she thought that carrying the flame would please me, and indeed it is a huge pleasure. » A high-level rugby player for many years, Villeneuvois has always dreamed of participating in the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, the timing was not the best for Gilles, since rugby sevens, the only form of rugby present at the Olympic Games, made its debut during the Rio 2016 edition only. Nevertheless, he continued to rack his brains to find a way to participate in the Games, something impossible for him. So as a sign of destiny, having not been able to represent France abroad as an athlete for the Olympic Games, he will run with the flame 1 hour 30 minutes from his hometown, in Sarlat-la-Canéda (Dordogne). ), on the occasion of the 2024 edition in Paris. The sports educator knows it, he is lucky to be able to carry the Olympic flame. However, he can’t help but hide his slight sadness at the fact that he won’t be able to run in the department that saw him grow up and live, even today.

The oval, more than a passion, a life

His love affair with rugby began at the age of 5. His father, a graduate of the CAV (Villeneuve-sur-Lot Athletic Club), registered Gilles in the XV. Subsequently, he joined SU Agen where he played among young people for 6 years. It was during high school that he discovered a new passion, that of rugby union. As a bonus: a French champion title during the 1992/1993 season with the Georges Leygues Couffignal high school. He still continued to play at XV and also at XIII at Bias and Sainte-Livrade and quickly his talents were noticed. Villeneuve XIII, an institution recognized for its performances, contacted him, and it was then that he experienced the golden age of the club. In total, he and his team won five French Championships, four French Cups and four European Cups. A crazy track record that goes down in the history of this sport. He then remained thirteen years in Villeneuve and in the meantime joined the national team, with whom he played around fifty matches over seven long years, from 1997 to 2004.

This is certainly why he will carry the flame on May 22 in Dordogne, a life guided by sport and the desire to share, a life in the service of others and a passion.

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