Roger Rochard

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Roger Rochard
Roger Rochard 1931.jpg
Roger Rochard in 1931
Personal information
Nationality French
Born (1913-04-20)20 April 1913
Évreux, France
Died 24 February 1993(1993-02-24) (aged 79)[1]
Height 1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 61 kg (134 lb)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) 5000 metres
Club Évreux AC
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 5000 m – 14:36.8 (1934)[2][3]

Roger Rochard (20 April 1913 – 24 February 1993) was a French long-distance runner. He was the first French track and field athlete to become a European champion, winning the 5000 metres race at the 1934 European Athletics Championships in Turin, Italy.


As an 18-year-old, Rochard surprisingly won the 5000 m in the 1931 national dual meet between France and Britain, running 15:11.8.[4] Later that summer, he also won in a dual meet against Germany, this time running 15:03.6.[5] His best time that year was 15:01.6, which he ran in Paris on 25 October,[3] but in that race he was defeated by Poland's Janusz Kusociński, who went on to win Olympic gold at 10,000 metres.[6]

In 1932 Rochard broke 15 minutes for the first time, running 14:56.8;[3][7] he was selected for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where he qualified for the final but did not finish it.[2] In 1933 Rochard improved to 14:46.5 in a dual meet against Finland, only narrowly losing to Finland's Olympic medalist Lasse Virtanen.[7]

At the 1934 European Championships in Turin Rochard was up against Kusociński, Virtanen and Ilmari Salminen, but outkicked them all and won gold by a clear 4.4 second margin.[7][8] His winning time, 14:36.8, was his personal best; he only missed out on the French record, set by Jean Bouin in his duel against Hannes Kolehmainen at the 1912 Summer Olympics, by one-tenth of a second.[7] Rochard was the first French athlete to win gold at the European Athletics Championships,[9] and the only one to do so in the inaugural 1934 meet.[10]

Rochard returned to the Olympics in Berlin in 1936; he again took part in the 5000 m, but was eliminated in the heats.[2] He attempted to defend his European title at the 1938 Championships in Paris, but only placed eighth.[10]


  1. ^ Dupuy, Gérard (20 May 2017). "Les Jeux Olympiques" (PDF). French Athletics Federation. Retrieved 17 August 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Roger Rochard.
  3. ^ a b c "Roger Rochard". Track and Field Statistics. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Inglise-Prantsuse kergejõustiku maavõistlus 67:53". Eesti Spordileht (in Estonian). 14 August 1931. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Saksa võitis Prantsuse 89:62". Eesti Spordileht (in Estonian). 8 September 1931. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Kusocinsky võit Pariisis". Eesti Spordileht (in Estonian). 10 November 1931. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d Jukola, Martti (1935). Huippu-urheilun historia (in Finnish). Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö. 
  8. ^ "Osa 1, Torino 1934: Järvisestä historiallinen mestari" (in Finnish). Yleisurheilun Kuvalehti. Archived from the original on 17 December 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Dupuy, Gérard (12 August 2014). "Zurich 2014... et avant ?" (in French). Commission de la Documentation et de l'Histoire. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Jalava, Mirko (2014). "European Athletics Championships Zürich 2014: Statistics Handbook" (PDF). European Athletics. Retrieved 27 December 2014.