Tokyo Olympics: the French handball team achieves a historic Olympic treble



The Blues have their revenge. Five after their defeat in Rio, the French team beat Denmark on Saturday August 7 in the final of the Tokyo Olympics. On the podium of the national stadium of Yoyogi, the members of the band trained by Guillaume Gille handed over the medals between them before making their voices resonate on the Marseillaise.

The performance is historic, the Blues won their third gold medal after those of Beijing (2008) and London (2012). The Danes had deprived them of a hat-trick in 2016.

Basketball, the Blue pocket the bronze in Tokyo

When we came back to the locker room after the match we said to ourselves: “What happened?”, says winger Valentin Porte. Maintaining such intensity for 60 minutes of play is hard! “After a sluggish start to the first period during which each side was faced with a very strong defensive block, the Blues were able to unlock the counter to finish the first period with a 4 point lead.

They began to tremble in the second half when, after the temporary exclusion of Luc Abalo and Dika Mem, the Danes glued back to one goal away. The giant Danish leader Mikkel Hansen (1.96 m), author of 9 goals, gave a hard time to the French defense but the Blues, without ever failing, won 25 to 23. ” It’s important to stay lucid in the hottest times Comments Melvyn Richardson.

Anne Hidalgo and the Danish clan

In the stadium located in the heart of the Shibuya district, the French played under the eye of the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, who is due to receive the Olympic flag during the handover ceremony on Sunday, three years before the Paris Games.

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The Danes had a whole clan behind them: around fifty people from the delegation unfurled a large flag and applauded their players as one man with each favorable action. French side, more timid ” Go the Blues Arose from the stands. More than a hundred Games volunteers were able to attend the final.

The return after the “crisis”

The match was the revenge of that of August 21, 2016, in the Rio Olympics final. The “ Experts Blues were the arch-dominators of the circuit and the Danes the outsiders. France had fallen from a height, prevented from achieving its Olympic treble (28-26). The trajectories had since reversed.

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While Denmark was establishing its legitimacy by winning the last two world championships (2019 and 2021), France was going through a difficult period: third in 2019, then eliminated in the preliminary round of Euro 2020, a failure which cost its place in coach Didier Dinart, replaced by Guillaume Gille in January 2020.

The last two years were complex, confirmed Philippe Bana, president of the French handball federation, before the final. There was a crisis, the change of coach, a new staff. It’s been a kind of reconstruction for a year and a half. On Saturday, the players leaving the field, medals around their necks, were relieved to have turned this page. ” We have come a long way », Says Dika Mem.

The success of team sports

Tokyo also signs the coronation of individual careers: Nikola Karabatic, Luc Abalo and Michaël Guigou now have three gold medals to their list. The last two played their last match in the tricolor jersey. ” I wanted to leave on a victory, rejoices Luc Abalo, 36 years old. I lost my dad in December, I told myself I couldn’t give up.

They are not the only French to have shone in this last weekend of the Games. Shortly after the coronation of the handball players, the French volleyball players, unexpected at this stage of the competition, won their first Olympic title, against the Russians. Earlier on Saturday, the basketball players were adorned with silver, stumbling in the final against the “ Mountain American. Their female counterparts won bronze by beating Serbia.

At the Tokyo Olympics, France shines as a collective

Sunday at 8 am (French time), the handball players also have an appointment with history. Their very first Olympic title reaches out to them. For that, it will be necessary to defeat Russia, against whom they had bowed in Rio in 2016. Here too, it is a story of revenge.

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