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France has been the homeland of the major legendary sports figures. Prominent among them have been: soccer players, rugby players, tennis players, cyclists, car racers and ice-skaters. However soccer is probably the foremost popular sports discipline in France. Another is rugby. Each year these group sports attract thousands of fans to France's most outstanding stadiums such as: Parc des Princes, Stade de France, Stade Louis 2, Stade Velodrome and many more. Some of the best known French sport figures are described below.
Amélie Mauresmo is a well-known French tennis player. She started to train when she was 4. In 1996 she became Junior World Champion as she grabbed French Open and Wimbledon titles. In 2004 during the Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Mauresmo lost to Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne receivingthe silver medal. Her most successful year was 2006 when Mauresmo won 5h3 Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli is the most famous French female cyclist ever. During her career she took part in many road and track bicycle races. During the 1996 Summer Olympic Games she won the Gold Medal in cycling while four years earlier she was a silver medalist. Aside from taking part in sports competitions, Jeannie Longo also devoted a lot of time to her education. As a result she received a B.S. degree in Mathematics as well as an MBA and doctorate in Sports Management.
Luc Alphand is an interesting example of a sportsman who represents two different kind of disciplines:
alpine skiing and car driving. He began his career in junior skiing competitions and became Junior World Champion of the downhill in 1983. One year later he started taking part in senior events and achieved victories in 12 World Cup races including 10 downhill and two Super G. In 1997 he marked his greatest success and scooped up anoverall World Cup title. More »
Lionel Letizi, a native of Nice, is a professional football goalkeeper, who started his career in the early 1990s, taking his first steps with Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice Côte d'Azur, known as OGC Nice. In 1994, he won the French second division, and then the first division. At that time Letizi's talent was noticed, and in 1996 he joined FC Metz, which won the French League Cup three years later. In 2000, he transferred to Paris Saint-Germain,
Mary Pierce is one of France's most famous tennis players. She was born in the Canadian city Montreal, but decided to represent France. Mary Pierce started playing tennis when she was 10. Four years later she played her first game on the professional circuit. In the beginning she was under strong but questionable influence of her father who often behaved in an uncouth manner. As a result he was thrown out from many a tournament including the French Open in 1993.
Raymond Kopa is a legendary French soccer player who contributed to the successes of the French national team and Real Madrid. He started playing soccer in SCO Angers and then joined Stade de Reims. With this second team Kopa reached League 1 Championship titles in 1953 and 1955. In 1956 his French team qualified for the European Cup final, but lost in the last match against Real Madrid. However soon after he was transferred to Real.
Thierry Henry is one of the best and most famous forward French soccer ever witnessed. He began his career in youth clubs:
I.N.F Clairefontaine and Versailles. At the age of 17 he transferred to the professional team AS Monaco and was then traded to Juventus and Arsenal. Since 1997 he has been a regular striker for theFrench national team. In 2004 and 2005 Thierry Henry won the European Golden Boot award. He is also the all time top scorer for Arsenal both in the Premiership as well as in European cups including the Champions League. More »
Zinedine Zidane also nicknamed ‘Zizou’ is one of France's most illustrious soccer players. He began his career in AS Cannes and then played in such clubs as:
Girondins de Bordeaux, Juventus and Real Madrid. He was also a regular French national team offensive midfielder. In 1998 he led France to a spectacular victory in the World Cup. Two years later he took part in the European Championships and France won the title. Unfortunately in 2002 due to a serious injury Zidane was unable to play in two games and France was eliminated in the first round. More »