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Colette Besson     
 
A formidable final rush in Mexico took her to the Gold 
 
Régine pour seulement une saison - Queen for just a season 
Une gentille dame - a gentle lady 
  
Full name: Colette Besson (-Noguès) 
Gender: Female 
Height: 5'7" (169 cm) 
Weight: 128 lbs (58 kg) 
Born: April 7, 1946 in Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, Charente-Maritime, France 
Died: August 9, 2005 in La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime, France 
Affiliations: Bordeaux EC 
Country: FRA France  
 
Personal Bests: 200 23.4 (1969); 400 51.79 (1969); 800 2:03.3 (1971).  
 
Colette Besson (April 7, 1946 in Saint-Georges-de-Didonne (Charente-Maritime) August 9, 2005 in La Rochelle) was a former French athlete, the surprise winner of the 400 m at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. 
Prior to the 1968 Olympics, Besson was virtually unknown, and the fact that she qualified for the 400 m could already be considered a surprise. 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. 
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 finish photo. Besson and Duclos also set a new world record in the 4x400m women's relay in the same championships. In the 4x400 women's relay final, Besson, who was anchoring the French 4 x 400 m relay 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. 
Besson died on Aug 9, 2005 of throat cancer, two years after being diagnosed with the disease. She was survived by her husband Jean-Pierre Muller and their two daughters, Sandrine and Stéphanie. 
    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Last centimeters before to enter in the legend: ColetteBesson  wins Mexico City 1968 Olympic games 400 m final
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Colette wins Mexico City 1968 Olympic games after a formidable final rush
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Colette wins Mexico City 1968 Olympic games after a formidable final rush
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Colette wins Mexico City 1968 Olympic games after a formidable final rush
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Colette becomes one of the most important sportwoman of France 
 
 
Taking   Gold and Lillian Board Silver.   
 
Mexico City 1968 Olympic games  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mexico City 1968 400 meters women final. The photofinish
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mexico City 1968 400 meters women final.  Colette wins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mexico City 1968 400 meters women final.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mexico City 1968 400 meters women final.  
 
Colette ready to go 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mexico City 1968 400 meters women final.  
 
Colette ready to go
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mexico City 1968 400 meters women final.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mexico City 1968 400 meters women final.  Colette wins. Numbered 102 is Jarvis Scott (USA) 6th.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lillian Board and Colette Besson after Mexico City 1968 400 meters women final.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Colette Besson after Mexico City 1968 400 meters women final.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Colette Besson after Mexico City 1968 400 meters women final.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Colette is crying on the podium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Emotion on the Mexico City 1968 400 meters women podium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mexico City 1968 400 meters women 
standing alone on the podium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mexico City 1968 400 meters women podium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mexico City 1968 400 meters women podium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
After tears time to smile
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
arriving in France after Mexico 1968 Olympic Games
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
arriving in France after Mexico 1968 Olympic Games
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Athens 1969 4x100 relay. Colette and Lilian 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Athens 1969 4x100 relay. Colette and Lilian
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Athens 1969 4x100 relay. Colette and Lilian
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Colette during a race on 1969
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mireille Mathieu, Nicole Duclos, Jacques Anquetil, Colette Besson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Colette's Book