Laure Manaudou in 2005
Laure Manaudou (born October 9, 1986 in Villeurbanne) is a French Olympic, world and European champion swimmer. She is the daughter of a French father and a Dutch mother.
Manaudou currently holds the world records for the 400 meter freestyle (short course), but she has lost her "long course" record, which is set in 50 meter pools. She won the gold medal in the women's 400 meter freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics. It was France's first gold medal ever in women's swimming and the first swimming gold medal won by a French athlete since Jean Boiteux's victory in the 400 meter men's freestyle event at Helsinki in 1952. Manaudou won the silver medal in the women's 800 meter freestyle at the Athens Olympics. In that race, she had a quick start but was passed down the stretch by Ai Shibata of Japan. She also won the bronze medal in the women's 100 meter backstroke, becoming only the second Frenchwoman to win three medals in a single Olympic Games, Summer or Winter. The first one was the track and field athlete Micheline Ostermeyer in London in 1948. Manaudou was by far the best swimmer on the French team, and did not have the team support to win a medal in the women's 4 x 200m freestyle relay.