World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Colette Besson

Colette Besson
Colette Besson in 1968
Personal information
Born 7 April 1946
Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, France
Died 9 August 2005 (aged 59)
Angoulins, France
Height 1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 58 kg (128 lb)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) 200 m, 400 m, 800 m
Club Bordeaux EC
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 200 m – 23.4 (1969)
400 m – 51.79 (1969)
800 m – 2:03.3 (1971)

Colette Besson (7 April 1946 – 9 August 2005) was a French athlete, the surprise winner of the 400 m at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.[1][2]

Athletic career

Prior to the 1968 Olympics, Besson, an unknown physical education teacher, qualified for the 400 m event. In the final, Britain's Lillian Board – the favourite for the gold – was way ahead of the rest of the field with just 100 m to go. With an amazing last sprint, Besson then moved up from fifth place to beat Board on the finish line by a tenth of a second. Her winning time of 52.03 seconds was 1.8 seconds better than her personal best.[1]

The next year, Besson came close to winning another international title at the European Championships. In the 400 m final, she crossed the line almost level with her team mate Nicole Duclos, both in the world record time of 51.7. However, Duclos was awarded the victory after examination of the photo finish. Besson and Duclos also set a new world record in the 4 × 400 m women's relay in the same championships.[1] In the 4 × 400 m relay final, Besson, who was anchoring the French team, passed the finish line at the same moment as Lillian Board. Again, photo finish evidence determined Besson had come second.

After 1969, Besson would not win any more international medals. She qualified for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, but was eliminated in the preliminaries, although she took fourth place in the relay. She retired from athletics in 1977.[2]

Personal life

Besson died on 9 August 2005 of cancer, two years after being diagnosed with the disease.[1] She is survived by her husband Jean-Pierre Muller and their two daughters, Sandrine and Stéphanie.


  1. ^ a b c d "Colette Besson, 59, French Track Star, Dies".  
  2. ^ a b "Colette Besson – sports profile". Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.