Swimming: Léon Marchand, new French champion




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Story: P.-Y.Salique Editing: S.Gravelaine – France 2

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At 20, Léon Marchand is already world champion. On Saturday June 18, he won gold at the World Championships in Budapest by winning to 400m medley awith a maddening chrono : 4min 4 dry 28/100ᵉ, new European record, and less than half a second from Michael’s world record Phelps.

He has eyes that sparkle and an equally sparkling medal. At 20, Léon Marchand sings his first Marseillaise in public, with the smile of a young man who has not stolen his race, he has flown over it. “I’m really already surprised with my time. And then I won, I’m world champion and that’s really huge”he explains. He is 9 years old when he celebrates his first victoryIn Toulouse (Upper Garonne). His parents are top athletes, his father is a former vice-world champion. He therefore beat his father’s times.

“He is focused, he is serious and then he really has a goal in mind and he gives himself the means to achieve the goal”believes Nicolas Castel, his trainer. He goes into exile in Arizona, with Bob Bowman, the coach with 23 Olympic titles and revealer of champions. In two years, Léon Marchand should swim in Paris for the Olympic Games.

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