after qualifying for the Olympics, Léon Marchand continues his training in Chartres

after qualifying for the Olympics, Léon Marchand continues his training in Chartres
after qualifying for the Olympics, Léon Marchand continues his training in Chartres

Martin Lange // Photo credit: Sarah Stier / GETTY IMAGES ASIAPAC / Getty Images via AFP
10:01 a.m., June 19, 2024

With the Olympics starting in just over a month, only 140 French athletes are qualified. More than 400 have yet to validate their selection, including certain swimmers, gathered this week in Chartres for the French championships. Among them, the young Toulouse Léon Marchand, who qualified for the Games on Monday.

At just 22 years old, Léon Marchand has already won five world titles and is now dreaming of gold at the 2024 Olympic Games. Blonde curls, smile on his lips, the Toulouse man keeps the face of an adolescent, but in the water, he transforms. A year ago in Japan, he even beat the last world record of the great Michael Phelps, who nevertheless holds 23 Olympic titles.

“It’s a gift. There is an element of genetics, but that is not enough to be a great champion”, relates Vincent Gardeau, the president of the Toulouse dauphins, the prodigy’s club. He continues: “He also has family values, temperament, the desire to fight. We find the character of the dad who is a great champion. He was vice-European champion, vice-world champion.”

“Affordable, smiling, friendly”

Her mother, also a swimmer, also participated in the Games. A student of Bob Bowman, Phelps’ former mentor, in the United States, Léon Marchand returns to train in Toulouse six months a year and despite his success, he does not change. Vincent Gardeau describes a young man who is “approachable, smiling, friendly”. During training, while guests and members were present, “he was almost embarrassed to see so many people in the stands”, remembers the president of his club.

Winner of the 400 meter medley on Monday, his specialty, Léon Marchand tackles his biggest challenge on Wednesday with a view to the Olympic Games: the 200 meter breaststroke, 200 meter butterfly double. Two races less than an hour apart.

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