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Manaudou: Return To Lucas?

Sep 17, 2008  - Craig Lord

Rumours are rife in France today that Laure Manaudou, winner of three Olympic medals in 2004 and none in 2008, is heading back to mentor Philippe Lucas in an attempt to revive her tumbling fortunes.

In L'Equipe, Jean-Baptiste Renet likens the possible reunion as being like the reforming of Pink Floyd, NTM and Police. A few months ago, it would have been The Beatles. Impossible.

Now, Manaudou, 22, has left Mulhouse and coach Lionel Horter, with whom she ended up on a whirlwind tour of possibilities that led to failure in Beijing after leaving Lucas in the wake of a very successful Melbourne 2007 world championship campaign. 

Horter confirmed to the French media that the former Olympic champion would not be returning to Mulhouse, while raising speculation about what happens next by acknowledging that Manaudou had spoken to Lucas two weeks ago. All the swimmer would say is that she had "chosen to have a period of reflection".

However, Lucas is quoted as saying that he could "leave [Canet and France] at any moment". Canada and Romania are cited as possible destinations. Meantime, history will recall that Manaudou missed what was likely to have been the biggest moment of her career.