Who is Brigitte Henriques, the president of the French Olympic Committee slamming the door a year before the Paris Olympics?
The intruder of the news shines the spotlight every night on a character who could have passed under the radar of the news.
While the Paris Olympics should open on July 26, 2024, in just over a year, Brigitte Henriques, president of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) received a standing ovation from the General Assembly when he presented his resignation on Thursday May 25, without even asking for a vote of confidence. The sign without a doubt of a form of relief. The atmosphere had become unbreathable around the former soccer player who became the first woman to lead the CNOSF two years ago. It is the epilogue of a war that has been open for months with his predecessor Denis Masseglia.
>>> French Olympic Committee president Brigitte Henriques resigns, just over a year from Paris 2024
Brigitte Henriques was born Brigitte Olive in March 1971, the last of six siblings, the only girl after five boys, the last of which was none other than Karl Olive, now a deputy for Poissy, close to Emmanuel Macron. Karl Olive explains that she could not have done an individual sport, because with a Breton mother who herself grew up in a large family, as well as a very religious one, “it was definitely a team sport“, he says.
However, the father, a worker at Simca-Chrysler in Poissy, secretly dreams of making his daughter a gymnast, a bit like the French Nadia Comaneci. Except that with his five brothers he always has a ball at his feet in their neighborhood of Coudraie. The five brothers all dream of a career in football, but quickly realize that if there is a professional footballer in the family, he will be “a” footballer.
Karlm Olive recalls. “Quickly, we realized that Brigitte had something more than her little balloon brothers. I had “this team already very competitive, both being very proud on the pitch when they weren’t winning and this ability to lead a team to systematic victory. Every day we spent at least an hour or two together. We are two years apart in hitting free kicks , we thought we were Platini (we are of the Platini generation!) and we have for years“.
Brigitte Henriques then shows character, and her easy education leads her to a STAPS university, sports studies to become a PE teacher, while in parallel starting a professional football career. Brigitte plays for Poissy for the first time, and the doors of the French team soon open. Her first selection dates back to 1988, for a friendly match against Italy. She is 17 years old. You will wear the blue shirt 31 times (15 official matches, 16 friendlies). She is French champion three times with Juvisy, with a first title at the age of 23, in 1994, then in 1996 and 1997, before ending her career at ASJ Soyaux.
But at the same time she is a physical education teacher. She also goes through the aggregation and exercises for about ten years. When she hung up her crampons in 1999, she outgrew her diplomas to evolve into managerial positions. You emerge important from your Limoges training of high-level athletes, in the same promotion as Zidane. She will be assistant coach of women’s training at Clairefontaine, then manager of women’s PSG from 2008 to 2010. With her, the Parisians also won their first Coupe de France title.
In 2011, Noël Le Graët entrusted her with the task of general secretary of the French Football Federation, in particular in charge of piloting the World Cup in France in 2019. She also became vice-president of this federation.
From football to politics
At the time, Karl’s advice, having moved from Canal + where he worked as a sports journalist to politics, was invaluable to him. In 2016, he explained to the Parisian that she has”inspired“her brother’s methods of promoting women’s football and this World Cup.”When he was on the campaign trail he was omnipresent on the field to meet the locals, I traveled all over France to talk to club presidents.
She is a candidate for the presidency of the CNOSF in 2021. Already present in the organization chart, she is widely encouraged to do so by the top management of the basketball or cycling federations with the support of president Denis Masseglia who was in his third term. So she succeeds him, elected against Thierry Rey the judoka or even Patrice Martin the water ski champion. In sight: the Paris Olympics! Her second dream of her life, after that of competing in a soccer World Cup.
In the end, he will have done neither. Because an internal war has been going on for a year with suspicions of bad financial practices from all sides, all against the background of an old case of support that Brigitte Henriques had brought in 2018 (to the Football Federation) to the president of the central league, subsequently convicted for moral and sexual harassment. In recent days, Denis Masseglia had even announced his intention to file a complaint with the National Finance Prosecutor (PNF) for abuse of trust aimed at the mandate of Brigitte Henriques.
When we finally ask big brother: politics or sports governance, which of the two is more violent? Poissy’s deputy refused to decide.