This is a photo of Marie-José Perec, a French athlete who had just won the 400 meter gold medal at the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996. She jumped into the stands to show off her gold medal and I was lucky enough to snap this shot. She was so happy and incredibly nice. She had just broken the world record.
She was born in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe.
Perec experienced her first major international success in 1991, when she became World Champion in the 400 m in Tokyo. Now a favourite for the Olympic title in 1992, Barcelona, she didn't disappoint.
Four years later—again the defending 400 m World Champion—she also entered in the 200 m at the Olympics in Atlanta. Surprisingly, she managed to win both events, achieving a rare 200/400 double. Perec was the first athlete of either sex to accomplish the 200/400 double at a non-boycotted Olympics; she completed her double 20 minutes before Michael Johnson matched the feat.
These two Olympic titles are also Perec's last international titles up to now. She was set to compete against Cathy Freeman in the Sydney 2000 Olympics, but just prior to the Games, Perec left the Olympic village in controversy and did not compete.
The photo is scanned. I know I blew it not getting the whole medal in the photo but I didn't want to waste a lot of her time composing the shot. I love the look of complete joy and pride on her face!
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