French Minister of Sport Congratulates “Thierry Tamgho”


French Minister for Sport, Youth and Community Life Valérie Fourneyron was a little too hasty in her praise of France's first gold medal winner at the World Athletics event in Moscow

As is often the case with people who “tweet”, French sports minister Valérie Fourneyron found that mistakes that are made on the social networking site are always too late to correct once they’re out there.

In her case, she was fast out of the blocks in posting a message of congratulations on Twitter to France’s first gold-medal-winner at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

The champion in question was victorious in the Triple Jump and his sports minister back home broadcast here contented sentiments within a few minutes of his achievement:

“Thierry Tamgho brings home the first gold medal for France at the World Athletics Championships. A breathtaking performance, 3rd in history!”

Oops! Fourneyron's tweet was captured and re-tweeted before she had the time to realise her mistake

Oops! Fourneyron’s tweet was captured and re-tweeted before she had the time to realise her mistake

The only problem was that the athlete’s name is Teddy, not Thierry. A ministerial correction was applied with maximum haste so as to remove all trace of the gaffe. The modern world of the internet moves much faster than the ministerial brain, it seems, and the mistake was spotted, screen-grabbed and re-transmitted before you could say “Merde!”

It’s another fine mess that won’t do the bungling image of President François Hollande any good. The socialist president has become one of the most unpopular president’s in France’s political history.

This mistake is not the first for Minister Fourneyron. On the day that President Hollande visited the French athletes during the London Olympics in 2012, she spoke on French television, saying “We want to be able to go, along with the President, to see several disciplines, whether it’s boxing or whether it’s going over to the judo competition to watch our flag-bearer Laura Flessel in her 5th Olympics.” The problem that time was that five-medal Olympian Laura Flessel-Colovic (nicknamed “The Wasp”) is a champion in the completely different discipline of fencing, not judo.

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