French Olympic Medalists in the 1960s

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Abstract

In the 1960s, French President De Gaulle used sport to pursue a proactive policy aimed at demonstrating the country’s power on the international stage. Public television played a central role in this mission, acting as part of a general policy, and in particular in favor of sport. Based on the premise that the media are a magnifying glass for male domination of society, and therefore of sport, we focus on the television and radio representations of three female champions from the 1960s: Christine Caron, in 100-meter backstroke, and Maryvonne Dupureur, in 800-meter track both Tokyo 1964 silver medalists; and Colette Besson, 1968 Olympic 400-meter track champion. Subjected to heteronormativity, we will examine the reasons for the differential treatment of the three sportswomen, based on a study of media archives (radio and television) from the French Institut National de l’Audiovisuel.