You may have seen America’s National Men’s Basketball team soundly defeat their French Counterparts this morning 98-71. Shocking, and against the grain of all stereotypes of the French, this was only the latest in a string of great French capitulations in Olympic History. Here are three of the most noteworthy examples:
Stockholm, 1912: Cowardly French Archer Jacque Le Peltier was the prohibitive favorite for gold in Stockholm. Nicknamed the Golem of Paris, Le Peltier developed his skills in the Jewish Quarter of Paris shooting rats and butchering them to Kosher standards for Jewish orphans. However, at the Olympics he saw German Archer Thomas Gerhardt point a bow in his general direction during warmups and immediately surrendered the event. Deeply ashamed, Le Peltier refused to return to Paris, leaving the Jewish orphans of Paris to starve while he started a poodle breeding farm in Belgium.
Berlin, 1936: Cowardly French sprinter Jacque Le Gerard agreed on Hitler’s behalf to try to trip Jesse Owens in the 100 meter finals in Berlin. However, he was too slow in qualifying, and wound up two lanes away from Owens. In a panic, he decided to trip the runner in the adjacent lane anyway; unfortunately for him and the Fuhrer, he was next to German sprinter Hans Gerhardt. Le Gerard was named the most hated man in Germany, and he was so filled with self-loathing at his new status he decided to forgo the remainder of his sprinting career instead committing himself to a life of painting portraits of poodles.
Mexico City, 1968: Coward French long jumper Jacque Le Forte was considered a long shot for the medal podium in Mexico City. Though he was slated to jump after Bob Beamon, when Le Forte saw his competitor’s world record jump he decided that instead of jumping himself, he would deliver an impromptu monologue on the meaning of life. While he touched on some interesting topics regarding the meaning of identity (Jacque Derrida considered Le Forte an inspiration) he did not make a qualifying jump and was permanently banned from athletic competition by the French Olympic Committee. Le Forte, left without purpose, took his own life by hitching himself to a pack of poodles and allowing them to drag him up and down the Champs Elysees where he was hit by a Peugeot.