Thomas Siniecki, Media365: published on Friday August 05, 2022 at 4:10 p.m.
The great story of the Blues really started in August 1992, during the Barcelona Games. Jackson Richardson was already present, as well as Stéphane Stoecklin, Alain Portes captain, or even Denis Lathoud and Alain Munier.
An Olympic bronze medal in 2022 would be almost disappointing for the French team. An observation that applies to the immense path traveled over the past 20 years and the first international charm won by the Blues at the Barcelona Games, a memory to which coach Daniel Costantini (for L’Equipe) returned: “The strength of this team was to believe in its dreams, to be afraid of no one. They were not afraid of the Spaniards on the first day, and in the semi-finals, they weren’t afraid of the Swedes. It all started with this 18-16 success in opening against the host country, yet the favorite: “Immeasurable joy. But this achievement comes on the first day. And we are playing the CIS behind. So we are not say that we will have a medal at the end. I said that the first two games were to settle.
“I should have told myself that this would be my best Olympic memory…”
Narrowly beaten by Sweden in the semi-finals (25-22), the French then conquered bronze in front of Iceland (24-20) by depriving themselves of the old ones: “I told them that this match was not a jubilee, but that it was part of the adventure of the France team and that it had to condition the future.So, I wanted only those who would still be there with me at the start of the school year to play it. “
Having become 78 years old, the predecessor of Claude Onesta, to whom he handed over in the wake of the 2001 world title at home (the first international gold medal), was “frightened constantly that it would stop the next day”: “There was always this anguish of saying that I was going to wake up, and that finally Spain maybe you did not beat them. I should have told myself that Barcelona would be my best memory Olympic, because behind…” Behind, the French team had to settle for a fourth place in 1996 in Atlanta, then a sixth in Sydney in 2000. Before, a dozen years later , to trigger the cycle of all successes.