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President of France’s Olympic Committee resigns with a year to go before Paris Games

Brigitte Henriques, president of France's Olympic Committee
Brigitte Henriques, the president of France’s Olympic Committee, resigned unexpectedly Thursday.
(Christophe Ena / Associated Press)
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The president of France’s Olympic Committee resigned unexpectedly Thursday, the latest leadership shakeup in French sports with just a year to go before the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

Brigitte Henriques, a former soccer player on the French national team, was the first woman to lead Olympic sports in France. Her departure follows a period of intense infighting in French Olympic circles.

The French Olympic Committee said she announced at the start of a general assembly meeting Thursday that she was stepping down. The committee statement did not give her reasons but said she explained them to the meeting’s attendees. She had occupied the role since June 2021.

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With the Paris Games less than 430 days away, the sudden void at the top of French Olympic sports will be temporarily filled by the Olympic committee’s secretary-general, Astrid Guyart. She will oversee the election process for a new president within three months, the committee said.

As head of France’s Olympic Committee, Henriques was directly involved in the massive, complex and costly preparations for the 2024 Games, sitting as a member of the board of directors of the Paris organizing committee led by its president, Tony Estanguet. As French Olympic Committee secretary, the new interim president, Guyart, was already a member of the Paris 2024 board, too.

While French sports have triumphed on the fields of play, led notably by victory in the 2018 soccer World Cup, they’ve been rocked by multiple leadership changes in the run-up to the Paris Games.

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Noel Le Graet resigned as president of the French Football Federation in February after a government audit found that he no longer had the legitimacy to lead because of his behavior toward women and his management style.

Bernard Laporte resigned as president of the French Rugby Federation in January after he was convicted of corruption and illegally acquiring assets and handed a suspended prison sentence.

Last October, Claude Atcher was fired as chief executive of the Rugby World Cup, which opens in France in September and which also will serve as a test of France’s security preparations for the Olympics. Atcher’s removal followed an investigation by French labor inspectors into his workplace conduct.

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