Marie-José Pérec

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Marie-José Pérec
Perec Atlanta 1996.jpg
Personal information
Born (1968-05-09) 9 May 1968 (age 47)[1]
Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe[1]
Height 5 ft 10 12 in (179 cm)[1][2]
Weight 132 lb (60 kg)[2]
Sport Athletics
Updated on 23 May 2015.

Marie-José Pérec (born 9 May 1968) is a French retired track and field sprinter who specialised in the 200 and 400 meters and was a three-time Olympic gold medalist.

Running career[edit]

Pérec won the 1991 World Championships 400 metres title in Tokyo and repeated the feat at the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg. She was the 400 metres champion at the 1992 Olympics Games in Barcelona. Four years later, she entered the 200 metres and 400 metres events at the 1996 Olympics Games in Atlanta and won both, thus achieving the second-ever Olympic 200 metres/400 metres gold medal double (the first was achieved by Valerie Brisco-Hooks in Los Angeles in 1984). Pérec won the 1996 400 meters title in an Olympic record time of 48.25 seconds, which also ranks her as the third fastest woman of all time.

In addition to her Olympic and World titles, Pérec also won the 400 metres title and was a part of the gold medal-winning 4 × 400 metres relay team at the 1994 European Championships in Helsinki.

The two 1996 Olympic titles were Pérec's last international titles. On 22 September 2000, she pulled out of the 200 metres and 400 metres events of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, several days before they were due to begin. Pérec claimed that she had been threatened and insulted several times since arriving in Australia and that the Australian press had been trying to sabotage her chances of winning the 400 m Olympic gold medal in Sydney.[3][4]

Pérec trained in Los Angeles, California, with the HSI track team and is listed as a legend on the team's page.[5]

Life after her retirement from athletics[edit]

She enrolled to top French business school ESSEC and graduated in 2007 to come a consultant.[6]

Pérec is today a member of the ‘Champions for Peace’ club,[7] a group of more than 70 famous elite athletes committed to promoting peace in the world through sports, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization.[8]

On 21 October 2012, Pérec was elected as the president of the Ligue Régionale d'Athlétisme de la Guadeloupe, the governing body for athletics in Guadeloupe.[9]


Pérec gave birth to her first child, a son, on 30 March 2010. His name is Nolan and Pérec's companion, Sébastien Foucras, is the father of the child.


Pérec was chosen as the L'Équipe Champion of Champions(France category) in 1992 and 1996 by the French sports daily, L'Équipe.

On 9 Oct 2013, Pérec was awarded the Officier de la Légion d'honneur by French President François Hollande in the Élysée Palace. Just before presenting the insignia to Pérec during the award ceremony, Hollande described her as "one of the most brilliant athletes in the history of French athletics". Pérec had received the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 1996.[10]

On 16 Nov 2013, Pérec was inducted into the IAAF Hall of Fame.

Personal bests[edit]

Event Time (seconds) Wind (m/s) Date Venue All-time ranking
100 m 10.96 +1.2 27 July 1991 Dijon, France 43rd (15th)
200 m 21.99 (FR) +1.1 2 July 1993 Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France 21st (9th)
400 m 48.25 (FR), (OR) 29 July 1996 Atlanta, Georgia 3rd (3rd)
400 m hurdles 53.21 (FR) 16 August 1995 Zurich, Switzerland 20th (6th)
  • Rankings outside the brackets are world rankings.
  • Rankings inside the brackets are European.
  • FR = French record
  • OR = Olympic record


  1. ^ a b c "Marie-José Pérec". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Marie-José Pérec". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Magnay, Jacquelin (2002), "Marie-Jose Perec on track", Sydney Morning Herald 
  4. ^ "Perec out of Olympics". BBC Sport. 22 September 2000. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Jonah Lomu, Marie-José Pérec, Sebastien Loeb and Hicham El Guerrouj: sporting legends committed to peace [2], 12 February 2010
  8. ^ Peace and Sport
  9. ^ Cairo, Elodie (23 October 2012), Le nouveau Comité Directeur de la LRAG (in French), Ligue Régionale d'Athlétisme de la Guadeloupe, retrieved 23 October 2012 
  10. ^ "Pérec et Arron décorées de la Légion d'honneur". L'Équipe. 9 October 2013. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
United States Kim Batten
Women's Track & Field ESPY Award
Succeeded by
United States Marion Jones
Sporting positions
Preceded by
United States Gwen Torrence
Women's 200 m Best Year Performance
alongside Nigeria Mary Onyali

Succeeded by
United States Marion Jones