Florent Manaudou (French pronunciation: [flɔʁɑ̃ manodu]; born 12 November 1990) is a French competitive swimmer, an Olympic champion of the 50-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics, and the younger brother of Laure Manaudou, an 2004 Olympic gold medalist in swimming. He currently holds the world record in the 50-meter freestyle and backstroke (short course).
Manaudou is the son of a French father and a Dutch mother. He first began swimming under the direction of his older brother, Nicholas Manaudou, and later joined the swimming club of Marseilles, France. In 2007, he was the Junior Champion of France of the 50-meter freestyle event. In 2009, he joined the French Army and is currently in an artillery regiment.
He and his sister Laure are the first siblings to both win Olympic gold medals in swimming. In addition to swimming, he is known for his dimples, his pierced tongue, and tribal tattoo.
Manaudou was awarded the Knight of the French National Order of the Légion d'Honneur for his "eminent merits" in swimming for his performance in 2012.
2011 World Championships
In his only individual event at the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai, the 50-meter butterfly, Manaudou placed fifth in the final with a time of 23.49. It was slightly slower than the times he posted in the heats (23.31) and semifinals (23.32). Manaudou also competed in the heats of the 4×100-meter medley relay and as the butterfly leg, had a split of 54.02. The French team did not advance to the final with an overall time of 3:36.21.
2012 Summer Olympics
At the French Olympic Trials, Manaudou qualified for the 2012 London Olympics in London by finishing second behind Amaury Leveaux in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 21.95. Despite entering the Olympics with only the 10th fastest time in the men's 50-meter freestyle in the world that year, Manaudou won the gold medal in that event (which was the only event he entered). He thus became the first French gold-medalist of the men's 50-meter freestyle and the sixth French Olympic champion in an individual event. Swimming out in lane 7 in the final, Manaudou had a time of 21.34 and finished ahead of Cullen Jones and favorite César Cielo, the defending champion and world record holder. Manaudou's time was slightly slower than the Olympic record of 21.30 set by Cielo in 2008, but was an unofficial fastest time swam in textile (that is, not wearing a high-tech suit). Going into the final, Manaudou recorded a time of 22.09 in the heats and 21.80 in the semifinals.
2012 Short Course Competitions
Following the Olympics, Manaudou competed at the 2012 European Short Course Championships and the 2012 World Short Course Championships held at the end of 2012. At the European Championships in Chartres, Manaudou won five gold medals including an individual title in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 20.70. At the World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Manaudou won one silver and bronze medal. In his specialty event, the 50-meter freestyle, Manaudou placed second behind Russian swimmer Vladimir Morozov (who he beat in Chartres) by three tenths of a second (0.33) with a time of 20.88.
2013 World Championships
At the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, Manaudou won gold in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay with Yannick Agnel, Fabien Gilot, and Jérémy Stravius. Swimming the second leg, Manaudou recorded a time of 47.93 while the French team had an aggregated time of 3:11.18. In the 50-meter freestyle, Manaudou lead the heats and semifinals with times of 21.72 and 21.37. In the final however, he finished 5th with a time of 21.64. Manaudou also competed in the 50-meter butterfly and finished 8th with a time of 23.35.
Manaudou won six medals at the 2014 World Short Course Championships (including three golds) and four gold medals at the 2014 European Aquatics Championships in Berlin. At the World Short Course Championships, Manaudou broke the first world records of his career in the 50-meter backstroke and freestyle.
Manaudou won three gold medals at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, including the 50 m freestyle where he swam the fastest time ever in textile in 21.19.
Manaudou failed in his bid to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games 100m freestyle when he only finished third at the French national championships held on Apr 1 in Montpellier. He had been hoping to pull off a 50m-100m freestyle double at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro but his time of 48.10sec was bettered by Jérémy Stravius (47.97) and Clement Mignon (48.01). Only the top two finishers would qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games. Manaudou, the reigning Olympic/world/European champion in the 50m freestyle, had been the second fastest over the 100m freestyle this season.
- As of 8 August 2015
Manaudou has received criticism from wildlife organisations and members of the public for posting a photo of himself posing with a Lar gibbon in Thailand on Facebook. The use of endangered species, like the Lar (or white handed) gibbon, as photo props and for other commercial uses has been illegal in the country since 1992.