Émilie Le Pennec : biography
Émilie Le Pennec (born 31 December 1987 in La Garenne-Colombes, Hauts-de-Seine) was the first French gymnast to win an individual Olympic medal in women's artistic gymnastics.
Coached by Yves Kieffer at Pôle France INSEP in Paris, Le Pennec was the French junior national champion in 2002. At her first senior nationals in 2003, she placed fifth, but won a silver medal on her specialty, the uneven bars. She represented France at the 2002 junior European Championships, where she won a bronze medal in the team event. At the 2003 World Gymnastics Championships, Le Pennec was a member of the tenth-place French team. She also qualified for the all-around and the floor exercise finals, where she finished eleventh and seventh, respectively.
At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Le Pennec placed sixth with the French team and fourteenth in the all-around finals. However, she shone in the uneven bars event final, where her challenging routine helped her win a gold medal over a tough field with numerous Olympic and Worlds bars champions, including Svetlana Khorkina (who took an infamous fall from the apparatus, which she traditionally dominated) and 2002 World Champion Courtney Kupets. Her medal marked the first ever for a French female gymnast.
Le Pennec continued to train and compete after the Olympics. In 2005 she earned two medals at the European Championships: the gold on the uneven bars and a bronze on the floor. She was also qualified to the all-around finals in first place, but lost any chance for a medal when she fell during her balance beam routine. Emillie also competed in the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne, but mistakes prevented her from medalling.
One of Le Pennec's competitive uneven bars routine is considered to be one of the most technically difficult in the world. In it, she completed a Def (a Gienger release move with a full twist), an element classified at the top difficulty level, Super-E, in the 2005 Code of Points. Le Pennec also performed a double full out—two back saltos with a double twist in the second flip.
Le Pennec missed the 2006 European Championships to concentrate on schoolwork. Later, recuperating from an Achilles' tendon injury and acting on the advice of her doctors, she sat out of the 2006 World Championships.
On the 27th of September 2007, she announced via a press release that she had put an end to her career, mainly after failing to retrieve her level after her multiple injuries in 2006–2007, the latest being a talonnade contracted during the Vittel international match in August 2007.
During the 2008 Summer Olympics, she worked as a consultant for the French TV Canal+.
Olympic Bars Routine: Jump to the low bar immediately to the high bar; hop with full turn; Def (Gienger with 1.5 turn); full pirouette into half pirouette down to the low bar; double twist with double front tuck somersault. (S.V: 10.0)
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