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Behind The Manaudou Sibling Success

Oct 17, 2012

News Round-Up:

France: Jean-Luc Manaudou, the father of the first siblings ever to win solo Olympic swimming titles, tells L'Equipe today that a combination of nature and nurture explains the success stories of Laure and Florent. Manaudou senior say the most obvious advantage that he and his netherlands-born wife bestowed upon their children was height and a "swimming shape": "The most obvious and the only thing I'm sure [we gave them physically) is size … My wife is tall (1.78m) as am I (1.96 m) [Laure is 1.80, Florent 1.99]. They (Laure and Florent) have always had a rather sporty morphology. Somewhat broad shoulders, narrow hips ... And then we lived in the country, they were cycling, running around the garden. They went to the gym, judo, handball. They developed qualities of skill, agility, movement, tone, reflex that swimmers do not necessarily have. It does not develop qualities explosion in water for example."

Manaudou mum and dad took their children swimming for safety's sake on camping holidays spent near rivers and lakes. Thoughts of Olympic success was something that was left to the eve of the moment. "Laura and Florent knew early on that they had some [useful] qualities … but between swimming well and becoming an Olympic champion, there is a fairly big gap. When he was 8 or 9, we noticed that Florent had the same sort of qualities as his sister. People praise his start these days but it was always like that; Florent and Laure, when they dived in, they always came out ahead.

Environment was important, he noted. "It is unlikely that a kid who grew up without books around him become a writer. We had to tell them 'you're in a race, try to win it!' Their coach told them the same thing. After that, we did not say 'you've lost, it's okay'. We said 'You've lost, it's okay, but maybe he should try to win the next week'.

Brazil: Brazil's Olympic swimming medal winners, Thiago Pereira and Caesar Cielo, as well as the coach Alberto Silva, received a honour medal from the state today, the prize carrying a cash reward in the bargain: for silver in the 400m medley, Pereira receives Real 50,000 (about US$25,000) and for bronze in the 50m freestyle, Cielo gets Real 30,000 (about US$15,000), 20 per cent of those earnings due to the coach. Rio will stage the 2016 Olympic Games, among incentives to do well at home a budget of R$39 million (about US$20m) in the next four-year cycle for swimming.

Australia: Belinda Hocking, a world-championship medallist in 2011 who missed the 200m backstroke final at the London 2012 Olympics, has told local media that her Games campaign was ruined by a bout of tonsilitis. The 22-year-old said: "Obviously I was pretty devastated with my 200 metres at the Olympics. I had tonsillitis at the Games but I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want to make any excuses. I have to move on. Looking back now I’m really proud of how I did. Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned. All I wanted was eight days to be healthy and it didn’t go that way.”

Spain: Spanish Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, Jose Ignacio Wert, has entered the fray in the fracas over Mireia Belmonte, silver medallist in the 200m butterfly and the 800m free at the London 2012 Olympics. Offering the swimmer his personal congratulations, the minister made it known that he wished to known more about why Belmonte was kicked out of CN Sabadell. Belmonte has resumed training at the high performance centre in San Cugat. Her former club refused to renew its contract with her after the board there said she had been rude to officials at a function and had shown arrogance towards them and her peers at the club. Belmonte turns 22 next month.

Myanmar (formerly Burma): Construction work on Wunna Theikdi Sports Complex for the 2013 Southeast Asian Games is 85 per cent complete, said officials in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, Myanmar. The main stadium for the 27th SEA Games, Wunna Theikdi Sports Complex, is being built at Nay Pyi Taw, the new capital of Myanmar. It includes a 50m pool. The 27th SEA Games will feature 42 sports between December 8 and 12 next year.