The life of Catherine Moyon de Baecque, 57, is like a roller coaster. This French hammer throw champion, pariah in the athletics world since the age of 26, has become an ambassador for the fight against sexual violence within the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF). Nice snub to those who wanted to silence her for years.
Born into a family of the Nantes aristocracy, she discovered athletics during an internship. Despite the reluctance of her parents, the teenager, who loves competition and surpassing oneself, excels on the athletics track to the point of being spotted by the national throwing coach. in the 1980s. He sees in this tall and powerful blonde the future standard bearer of the women’s hammer throw, a discipline which is due to make its Olympic debut in 2000.
The young woman trains at the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (Insep), in Vincennes, in parallel with her language studies. Alone in the middle of the boys of the France team, the only girl of a sibling of six quickly becomes the hotshot of her comrades, annoyed by her bourgeois upbringing. Jokes and stings end up turning into sexual assault during a federal internship in Gueugnon (Saône-et-Loire) in the summer of 1991.
“My little girl, you are young, you will forget”
The young athlete wallows in silence but ends up turning to the president of the French Athletics Federation, Robert Bobin, who answers: “My little girl, you are young, you will forget. “ This is too much. Catherine decides to file a complaint against her teammates. She breaks the omerta, but then begins to cross the desert. Sports leaders want to cover up the case for fear of further revelations. “Everyone knew it was true, but it was important not to talk about it, she explains. They were angry with me because I resisted. ”
After a grueling legal battle, the Court of Cassation rejected the appeal of the four attackers in August 1994. One of them was released, the other three were sentenced to terms of eight to fifteen months’ imprisonment with a suspended sentence. State responsibility is recognized. A first in the history of French sport. The case sets a precedent, but the ordeal of Catherine Moyon de Baecque does not end for all that. The doors of sports authorities remain closed to him and entry to Insep prohibited.
At the evocation of these “Unspeakable violence”, tears blur her sky-blue gaze. “My life was shattered, I really lost everything. I almost died several times ”, she confides in a whisper, after a long silence. She “Survives” thanks to an attentive and protective entourage and takes refuge in writing.
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Catherine Moyon de Baecque, the Olympic revenge of an assaulted athlete