Marlène Harnois

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Marlene Olivia Harnois
French Olympic team open-top bus 01.JPG
Olympic medalists' parade on the Champs Élysée in Paris, France
Country (sports) France Canada
Born (1986-10-22) October 22, 1986 (age 32)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Height5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Highest rankingNo. 1 (August, 2013)
Marlène Harnois
Medal record
Representing  France
Women’s taekwondo
Olympic Games
Bronze medal – third place 2012 London 57 kg
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2011 China 2011 World Taekwondo Championships – Women's featherweight
Silver medal – second place 2012 Aruba Team
Bronze medal – third place 2011 Gyeongju Featherweight
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 2008 Rome Lightweight
Gold medal – first place 2012 Manchester Lightweight
Bronze medal – third place 2010 Saint Petersburg Welterweight
Gold medal – first place 2011 Shenzhen Featherweight
Bronze medal – third place 2009 Belgrade Lightweight

Marlene Olivia Harnois (born October 22, 1986) is a Canadian-born French taekwondo Olympic medalist, TV personality, philanthropist and a Knight of the Order of Merit, decorated by the President of France.

She is a Champion for Peace representing the Peace and Sport Organisation under the High Patronage of H.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.

In addition she is two times European Champion, World University Champion, a World Taekwondo Championships medalist[1] and has reached the world number one ranking.

Highly involved in the development of sport in West Africa and mentoring young prodigies Cheick Cissé and Ruth Gbagbi, she contributed to the historical victory of Ivory Coast at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

She is also a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee and the European Taekwondo Union.


Harnois discovered Taekwondo at the age of four with her older sister Stephanie. Both enrolled in a neighbourhood club located on the south shore of Montreal. She earned her black belt at age nine and quickly stood out at provincial and national levels. In her youth, she also won competitions in other sports including a Quebec Championship in fencing (foil), and in handball (with the high school team of Pierre-Brosseau, where she was enrolled in sports studies program), as well as several snowboard competitions.


Canadian Team
In 1997, in her first participation, she won the Canadian Junior National Taekwondo Championships. After three years of consecutive years of winning the National Championship, she made her debut on the international scene and won the 1999 US Open. At age 13, Harnois was selected to represent Canada at the 2000 World Junior Championships in Killarney, Ireland, and won the bronze medal. The Canadian martial art prodigy immediately gained international attention within her sport.

Journey in France (2001–2002)
As part of the International Francophone Solidarity program, the French Taekwondo Federation (FFTDA) offered Harnois the opportunity to join the French training center for the 2001-2002 sport season. The then 14 year old athlete decided to move to Europe in order to reach her goals. In France, she trained at the Aix-en-Provence training center (CREPS) with Pascal Gentil (twice Olympic medalist) and Mamedy Doucara (welterweight World Champion 2001). She won the Francophone World Cup in the -67 kg division and received the title of "MVP, Best Fighter".

Athletic career on hold (2002–2005)
One year into the International Solidarity Francophone program, established by the FFTDA, Harnois returned to Canada and won the Korea Open in 2003.

Back to France (2006)
Harnois accepted a proposition made by the French Taekwondo Federation and moved back to France to train at the National Olympic Center. She joined the group led by Myriam Baverel at the Aix-en-Provence training center (CREPS) and won all the International Open Championships: the Mexico World Open, Dutch Open, Israel Open, Spanish Open, Andorra Cup, and Bilbao Open. At the same time, she pursued her scholarship and earned a certificate in physical education and a master's degree (bac+4) in sport management. In 2008, just days after receiving her French naturalization, Harnois won the European Championships in the -63 kg category.

Olympic preparation (2008–2012)
In 2008, Harnois joined the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (INSEP) in Paris to prepare for the London Olympics. Two times European Champion, World university Champion and medalist, she dominated the international scene and won the US Open, Russia Open, Israel Open, Paris International Tournament, and Deutsch Open, and medalled at the World Taekwondo Championships. She also won an Olympic quota for France at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Kazan, Russia.

2012 Summer Olympics
Harnois won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. She beat Yeny Contreras in the first round, followed by Hedaya Wahba in the quarter-finals.[2] She then lost to Hou Yuzhuo in the semi-finals.[2] This enabled her to take part in the bronze medal repechage, where she beat Mayu Hamada.[2]








  • Gold World Open Mexico
  • Gold Spanish Open
  • Gold Jerusalem Open


  • Gold Copa d’Andorra
  • Gold Jerusalem Open
  • Gold Bilbao Open


  • Bronze Junior Taekwondo Championships, Killarney - Ireland (2000)
  • Gold Korea Open (2003)
  • Gold Francophone World Cup (2002)
  • Gold US Open (1999)
  • Gold Canadian National Championships (1997 to 2002)

Charity work, endorsements and other media[edit]

In 2014, she founded in Abidjan, Ivory Coast the Fondation Heart Angel in order to promote education, culture andsSport in West Africa and support the youth in the realisation of their dreams. At the RIO 2016 Olympic Games, Cheick Cissé and Ruth Gbagbi, athletes supported by the foundation, won historical medals. The gold medalist in taekwondo - 80 kilos, Cissé, became the first Olympic champion in the history of the Ivory Coast, and Gbagbi, bronze medalist in taekwondo -67 kilos, became the first female Olympic medalist.[4]

In 2016, Harnois became a Champion for Peace representing the Peace and Sport organisation, under the High Patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco. She actively promotes peace through sport and doing field actions all over the world.[5]

In parallel to her sport career, she obtained a BA in Journalism and Communications at the Centre de Formation de Journalistes de Paris, starred in an advertising campaign for Allianz with Ladji Doucouré and Blune with Mazarine Pingeot, and worked for various media outlets such as Eurosport, Canal+ Africa and France Televisions. She is also involved with various foundations and is an ambassador for "Un Maillot Pour la Vie" and Fondation Heart Angel.


On 1 March 2013, Harnois received the distinction of Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite, awarded by the President of France, François Hollande, at the Élysée Palace.[6]

During the 2018 Cannes Festival, she was decorated by United Nations peacekeeping forces alongside singer and philanthropist Akon.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c "49 - 57 kg women results - Taekwondo - London 2012 Olympics". Retrieved 2016-05-13.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^;jsessionid=ACDBAB1E59D8615BEF5A8EEE335461DA.tpdjo09v_2?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000026871340&dateTexte=&oldAction=rechJO&categorieLien=id