Sports Now

A look back at Camille Muffat, Alexis Vastine and Florence Arthaud

Remembering the athletic careers of Camille Muffat, Alexis Vastine and Florence Arthaud

The French sports world is reeling after the deaths of three of the country's elite athletes, along with seven others, in the crash of two helicopters that collided while shooting the reality TV show "Dropped" in Argentina's La Rioja province Monday.

Camille Muffat and Alexis Vastine competed in the Olympics, while Florence Arthaud was a world-class sailor. A closer look at their sports careers:

A life dedicated to swimming

Muffat, 25, was a swimmer who won a gold medal and set an Olympic record in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Games. She also won a silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle and was part of France's bronze-winning 800-meter freestyle relay. Those three medals made her only the third Frenchwoman to win three medals at an Olympics.

She later briefly held the world record in the 800-meter freestyle and the 400-meter freestyle. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 2013 and retired from competitive swimming in December 2014.

"She had dedicated a lot of her life to swimming to become Olympic champion, and her objective since her retirement was to make a success of her [personal] life," her agent, Sophie Kamoun, told the Associated Press. "I spoke to her on the phone two days ago and she told me she'd spent a fabulous week, one of the best of her life."

U.S. swimmer Allison Schmitt, who finished second to Muffat in the 400 meters at the London Games, said in a statement that she was "deeply saddened by the sudden death of Camille Muffat. A great racer and champion. My thoughts and prayers are with you all."

Bronze medalist

Vastine, 28, was a boxer who won a bronze medal in the light-welterweight division at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was a controversial result, because many felt Vastine had defeated Manuel Felix Diaz of the Dominican Republic in the semifinals. Vastine was ahead in the bout but the referee docked him four points in the final round for pushing, a decision many felt was unfair. Vastine lost the bout, 12-10, and broke down in tears after the defeat.

His sister, Celie, died in a car accident in January, and Vastine reportedly decided to appear on "Dropped" to help him deal with the loss.

Groundbreaking sailor

Arthaud, 57, won the Route du Rhum, a solo yacht race across the Atlantic Ocean, in 1990. In 1997, she won the Transpacific race, which starts off San Pedro and ends in Honolulu, a distance of about 2,560 miles. When she was just 17 years old, a serious car accident left Arthaud paralyzed and in a coma. It took her two years to make a full recovery.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
68°