France at the 1896 Summer Olympics

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France at the Olympic Games

Flag of France
IOC code  FRA
NOC French National Olympic and Sports Committee
Website (French)
At the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens
Competitors 13 in 6 sports
Rank: 4
Olympic history (summary)
Summer Games
Winter Games
Intercalated Games

Thirteen athletes from France competed in six sports at the 1896 Summer Olympics. France won the fourth-most gold medals with 5 and the fourth-most total medals with 11. Cycling was the sport in which the French competitors had the most success, as they completely dominated the field. The French team had 27 entries in 18 events, winning 11 medals.


Medal Name Sport Event Date
 Gold Masson, PaulPaul Masson Cycling Men's 10 km April 11
Men's time trial April 11
Men's sprint April 11
 Gold Flameng, LéonLéon Flameng Cycling Men's 100 km April 8
 Gold Gravelotte, Eugène-HenriEugène-Henri Gravelotte Fencing Men's foil April 7
 Silver Tuffère, AlexandreAlexandre Tuffère Athletics Men's triple jump April 6
 Silver Flameng, LéonLéon Flameng Cycling Men's 10 km April 11
 Silver Callot, HenriHenri Callot Fencing Men's foil April 7
 Silver Perronet, JoanniJoanni Perronet Fencing Men's masters foil April 7
 Bronze Lermusiaux, AlbinAlbin Lermusiaux Athletics Men's 1500 m April 7
 Bronze Flameng, LéonLéon Flameng Cycling Men's sprint April 11

Results by event[edit]


France's six athletes won two medals in athletics.

Event Place Athlete Heat Final
100 metres Alphonse Grisel Unknown Did not advance
400 metres Alphonse Grisel Unknown Did not advance
Frantz Reichel Unknown
800 metres Albin Lermusiaux 2:16.6 Did not start
Georges de la Nézière Unknown Did not advance
1500 metres 3rd Albin Lermusiaux No heats 4:37.0
110 metre hurdles Frantz Reichel Unknown Did not start
Marathon 9th Sokratis Lagoudakis No heats Unknown
Albin Lermusaiux Did not finish
Event Place Athlete Best mark
Long jump Alphonse Grisel Unknown
Alexandre Tuffèri Unknown
Triple jump 2nd Alexandre Tuffèri 12.70 metres
Discus throw Alphonse Grisel Unknown


Leon Flameng and Paul Masson

France dominated the cycling events, taking 4 of the 6 gold medals. Three were won by Paul Masson who won every event he entered, with Léon Flameng adding the fourth as well as a silver and a bronze. One of the two won each event that a Frenchman contested; the two gold medals won by other countries were in competitions that Masson and Flameng did not enter.

Event Place Cyclist Time/Distance
333 metres 1st Paul Masson 24.0 seconds
5th Léon Flameng 27.0 seconds
Sprint 1st Paul Masson 4:58.2
3rd Léon Flameng Unknown
10 kilometres 1st Paul Masson 17:54.2
2nd Léon Flameng 17:54.8
100 kilometres 1st Léon Flameng 3:08:19.2


Group of French and Greek fencers at 1896 Summer Olympics

The French fencers were held in high regard prior to the Games; Gravelotte and Callot validated those expectations in the amateur foil competition. Each went undefeated in their pool, advancing to face each other in the final. Gravelotte won the first-to-3 bout. Surprisingly, however, Perronet lost to the Greek Leonidas Pyrgos in the only match of the masters competition.

Event Place Fencer Record Touches Round-robin Final
Wins Losses For Against
Foil 1st Eugène-Henri Gravelotte 4 0 12 7 1st
Group B
2nd Henri Callot 3 1 11 7 1st
Group A
5th Henri Delaborde 1 2 5 8 3rd
Group A
Did not
Masters foil 2nd Jean Maurice Perronet 0 1 1 3 None held Lost
Opponent nation Wins Losses Percent
Greece 6 2 .750
Total international 6 2 .750
France 2 2 .500
Total 8 4 .667


Grisel competed in the parallel bars in the gymnastics program. The competitions had no formal scoring, the judges merely selecting the winner and runner-up. Grisel was neither in his competition.

Event Place Gymnast
Parallel bars Alphonse Grisel


Lermusiaux entered the military rifle event in the shooting program. His score and placing are unknown.

Event Place Shooter Score Hits
Military rifle Albin Lermusiaux Unknown


Only the last name of the French tennis player in 1896 is known. He was defeated in the first round of the singles tournament.

Event Place Player(s) Round 1 Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
Singles 8th Defert Lost Did not advance
Opponent nation Wins Losses Percent
Greece 0 1 .000
Total 0 1 .000


  • Lampros, S.P.; Polites, N.G.; De Coubertin, Pierre; Philemon, P.J.; Anninos, C. (1897). The Olympic Games: BC 776 – AD 1896. Athens: Charles Beck.  (Digitally available at [1])
  • Mallon, Bill; Widlund, Ture (1998). The 1896 Olympic Games. Results for All Competitors in All Events, with Commentary. Jefferson: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0379-9.  (Excerpt available at [2])
  • Smith, Michael Llewellyn (2004). Olympics in Athens 1896. The Invention of the Modern Olympic Games. London: Profile Books. ISBN 1-86197-342-X.