French racing cyclist Jeannie Longo was born on October 31, 1958. At the age of 54, she’s still competing and is one of the cycling greats of all time. Longo has competed in seven Olympics games, from 1984 to 2008. In her final games, she finished only 33 seconds behind the winner of the road race and only 2 seconds behind the bronze medalist in the road time trial. Although she didn’t win in those games, she has won four Olympic medals. She has been world champion 12 times, competing in both road and track events.
Despite her longevity in a sport that usually features 20-somethings, Longo was actually a 20-something before she even began her career. She had started as a downhill skier and had some success before making the switch to two wheels instead of two poles. In just a couple of months, Longo won the French road race title. Not only were her 20s marked by athletic achievement, she was also an academic success, earning a degree in mathematics, an MBA and then a doctorate in sports management.
In 2011, Longo faced possible sanctions for not complying with Cycling Federation guidelines to report her whereabouts for random testing. Longo was subsequently cleared as she had not known that she was required to report her location during the time in question. Her husband and trainer, Patrice Ciprelli, however, is going to face trial for the illegal purchase of EPA (a blood-booster). Apparently, the substance was for his personal use, not hers. In a sport that has seen some pretty spectacular falls from the podium in recent weeks, Longo describes herself as the most tested athlete in the world. I’ll be so disillusioned if she is ever found to have cheated.
Today’s expression, Vivre en forme (veehvuh ehn form) is the title of Jeannie Longo’s book. It means “Living in shape.” I would say the 59-time French cycling champion is a fairly credible source to talk about a life of fitness.
- Ciprelli appeal rejected (cyclingnews.com)