One year from the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, Marie-Amélie Le Fur is a woman in a hurry. However, when it comes to evoking her memory of her first Olympic medal, in the long jump, in Beijing in 2008, the president of the French Paralympic and Sports Committee (CPSF) takes the time to breathe and her face lights up.
“The competition had started very badly. On the warm-up jump, I make a bad impulse and I slip on the board. I’m scared and it will paralyze me throughout the competition. “Beyond the apprehension of a new fall, the champion does not manage to put herself fully in the dynamics of the Games. “I wanted to enjoy, but maybe not in the right way. I was a young athlete and I let myself be caught up in the magic of the Games. »
When a crowded enclosure usually transcends the athletes, the multiple medalist lets herself be overwhelmed by the event. His first two jumps are missed. He only has one left to hope for a medal. This is where the beginnings of an extraordinary mentality come in, which Marie-Amélie Le Fur will develop throughout her sporting career. “I tell myself that I have nothing to lose. At the moment of the last jump, there is a form of letting go, ”she admits. “By wanting to control everything cerebrally, we leave no room for magic. »
An “ambiguity of feelings”
Letting go brings magic. The magic creates the performance: 4.71 m on the last jump. Still, after this feat, Marie-Amélie Le Fur is not guaranteed to get a medal. She must wait and scrutinize the performance of the last competitors who still have a try. “We tremble every time the competitors start,” she laughs today. One after the other, the opponents of the day did not manage to equal or exceed the Frenchwoman, except the Austrian Andrea Scherney who will culminate at 4.82 m. Gradually, the podium takes shape and the French surprises herself celebrating not only the promise of a precious sesame but also the poor performance of her opponents. “I was caught in an ambiguity of feelings. I was happy that they didn’t beat me, while wondering if it wasn’t unsportsmanlike to think that! »
Because she is taking part in several events (long jump, 100m and 200m), Marie-Amélie Le Fur has just enough time to savor that she must already concentrate on what’s next. A brake on emotion. “We have to wait to relax,” she explains. “That said, we can also say that the Games have already been a success. This gives the right to error for the future. »
A string of medals
Backfire. Mown down by a competitor in the 200m event where she was the favorite, Marie-Amélie Le Fur will once again bet on her mentality to get a second silver medal in the 100m.
Frustrated at not getting the gold, Marie-Amélie Le Fur knew that these Games would not be her last. “I tried to convince myself to be happy with the two silver medals, but later I understood that I was disappointed, not with the color of the medal, but with my investment,” she analyzes today. “I made a pact with my coach to take part in the Games again, but this time with no regrets. The champion will go to the end of her convictions. From these first two silver medals obtained in 2008, a whole series will follow. In London, Marie-Amélie Le Fur will obtain gold in the queen event of the 100m and will fulfill the promise made four years earlier. A total of nine Olympic medals will crown his Olympic career between 2008 and 2021 in Tokyo: three gold, four silver and two bronze. One of the finest French records at the Paralympic Games.
A converted champion
In December 2015, Marie-Amélie Le Fur has been appointed co-chair, alongside multi-medal winning judoka Teddy Riner, of the Paris 2024 Athletes’ Commission.
In 2018, with footballer Antoine Griezmann and boxer Estelle Mossely, she was named ambassador of the campaign against discrimination launched by the Minister of Sports at the time, Laura Flessel.
On December 14, 2018, she was elected president of the French Paralympic and Sports Committee (CPSF), succeeding Emmanuelle Assmann. She will be re-elected on July 5, 2021 for a four-year term.
Beyond these three Olympic titles, Marie-Amélie Le Fur was crowned four times world champion and three times European champion.