Olympics: papers rib French performance and British self-praise

France came seventh in the Olympic league table, winning 34 medals in total - seven less than in Beijing. But as the athletes file onto the Eurostar before a homecoming parade along the Champs Elysée Monday evening, what is the French press saying about the games?

French team were “lacklustre”.

Anyone watching the France 2 Olympic coverage last night – the most watched channel in France for the games, beating TF1 and Eurosport – will have seen nothing but self-congratulatory montages (even the France 2 production team in London got a pat on the back – make-up artist included).

But back on French soil, the papers weren’t so friendly.

Le Monde leads with a quote from the minister for Sports, Valeria Fourneyron, made in an announcement after France’s “lacklustre” effort: “France’s performance is going to be dealt with swiftly,” she said.

The sport that received the most criticis was fencing. In a team France round-up, Le Figaro gave the fencers a collective “dunce’s cap” for their performance, complaining they did not get “even a hint of a medal” for the first time since the 1960s.

Even Fourneyron chimed in, saying: “It’s clear that for fencing we have to put in our all [for the next games]”.

But no matter how disappointing France’s achievements were to the French press, there has been no further mention of basketball player, Nicolas Batum, and the punch thrown at his Spanish counterpart in last week’s match.

London 2012

Of course, Olympic analysis wouldn’t be complete without a word or two on London’s hosting skills. Le Figaro’s London correspondent, Florentin Collomp, noted how quick the Brits were to pat themselves on the back for doing such a good job.

Prime Minister David Cameron speaking about Seb Coe, head of the Olympic committee, particularly caught his eye. He quoted Cameron saying: “Seb Coe is already a Lord. I don’t have the power to make him an Earl or a Duke, but if I could I would.”

Even the brief truce between the Conservative and the Labour party during the Olympics has impressed Collomp, calling it a “sacred union”.

The royals have also garnered their fair share of column inches. Le Monde observed each of the younger royals has done their fair share of the Olympic-rounds, all at the bidding of the media-savvy Queen.

Prince William has attended swimming, athletics, judo and rowing, while Kate was present at tennis and gymnastics.

Harry “the lady killer”, as the paper called him, “was anywhere pretty girls could be found too,” namely volleyball and cycling.

Paris 2024?

Now, with the two weeks of sporting events over, France has started looking to the future. For the weeks to come, excitement is mounting over the 164 members of the French paraolympian team.

But looking further ahead, the French bid for the 2024 Olympics is well underway, with sports minister Fourneyron vowing to put in her all.

“You have to see putting in a bid right up until the end. Three failures in a row is just too much.

“The games aren’t just a fortnight of public display and infrastructure – we’ve seen that in London. It’s also about businesses and innovations.”

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