Marie-Jose Perec is a champion sprinter from France who won three Olympic gold medals in the 1990s.
Perec was twice champion in the women’s 400m and also won the gold in the 200m at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Although she was already running both the 200m and 400m early in her career, she was more successful in the 400m early on, and she first gained prominence by topping the 400m at the 1991 World Championships. A year later, she won the gold in the same event at the Barcelona Olympics, her first taste of Olympic glory.
In Atlanta, Perec duplicated the feat of American sprinter Michael Johnson, winning golds in the 200m and 400m, and setting an Olympic record of 48.25 seconds in the latter.
Perec was set to defend both her Olympic titles in Sydney in 2000, but suddenly withdrew from the Games after claiming she was harassed by a man in her hotel. This deprived Olympic fans of seeing a much-awaited showdown between Perec and local bet and world champion Cathy Freeman, who went on to win the gold.
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