France, world champion of football in 1998. Do you remember? Thuram's finger, Deschamps' smile, Zidane's heads. Twenty years later, these flood the media scene and squat the contemporary thrones. We remember less of the back (crawl) of Maracineanu. However, she was also the very first French world champion in her sport (and not least) that year, laying the foundation stone for what would become the golden age of tricolor swimming. The volatile black-white-butter generation was also Bucharest. Come on, let's see his armchair at the pompous Sports Ministry as a modest historical remedy.
It is there that she receives us with croissants, scarf with polka-dots tied around the neck, after months of procrastination. In September, following the handover with Laura Flessel, our meeting was more or less acted. But an avalanche of bulky files seems to have forced the ex-swimmer to expose himself less. And now, warm winter, the minister goes back in the ring, sparing neither her schedule nor her opponents.
Because being a minister, it changes a life. Maracineanu has learned to his cost. Just after his appointment, Médiacités reveals that his apartment in Clamart is a HLM. Did she get it in exchange for support to the mayor of this commune of Hauts-de-Seine? She has already denied. In front of us, she announces, visibly relieved: "We moved last week." Then is justified: "If we had this apartment, it was because my husband's resources and mine allowed us to do so. We paid 1,300 euros per month rent. We could not afford a purchase, something we could do now that I have a "stable" job [les dix derniers ministres des Sports le sont restés en moyenne moins de deux ans, ndlr]. "
Being a minister does not change a life. The father of his three children, a journalist at France Inter, had to switch from international sports service, while Léa Salamé for Raphaël Glucksmann, in less media. "Roxana deserves it, but it's a huge mess. Everything is impacted, pulls out the tongue who sees his wife working "Six and a half days out of seven".
For many years, Maracineanu has been involved in the small world of sports, comics and journalism in western Paris. A cocktail that succeeded him. Witness a dithyrambic article published in the Parisian after his Sports appointment: the author was none other than the husband (journalist) of the dircom of the new minister. Definitely, small medium …
Roxana Maracineanu does not come from there at all. As a child, she practices gymnastics in the country of Comaneci. But his parents must flee the dictatorship of Ceausescu. She is 9 when they land in 1984 in Marseille. The little family crosses the Hexagon, sleeping in a Renault 16, and stops in host families and centers. "We did not have to know the nights under the tent in Paris …" she agrees when we talk about the current migration issue. Even today, Roxana Maracineanu thanks France for helping her to find a refuge.
Terminus of the family exile: Mulhouse. The little Romanian starts to swim. His departure times are not flamboyant. But Maracineanu does a lot of lengths, and round back. No more physically impressive than her opponents, she won the world title in Perth (Australia), with a roar. And becomes an example of integration vaunted in France – even Jean-Marie Le Pen will be there.
"I feel fully French and fully Romanian, although I am now more familiar with codes and culture in France", She says. "But I know the distance between two cultures, what the second generation is experiencing [d’immigrés]. " She hates it. That's why this Orthodox Christian girl stood out in the majority by supporting Decathlon, who was putting on a sports hijab for Muslim women. "I want women in neighborhoods to play sports in our associations," that she sees as crucibles to infuse republican values.
His sports career ended, the idol of Laure Manaudou is destined to TV journalism. Too frustrating: "I did not have enough freedom." She turns herself into a consultant for the media (including Libe). But Maracineanu is looking for a future worthy of its past, making the observation that athletes are entrepreneurs in the soul: hat team, achieve goals, she has already done in her sporting career. After graduating from a prestigious business school in 2005, Maracineanu creates a consulting company. In 2010, she became involved in politics on the list of Socialist Jean-Paul Huchon in the Ile-de-France region. At the same time, it is launching several associations against drowning and in favor of sport for all.
It is in this associative framework that this polyglot (she speaks five languages) is, she says, spotted by Edouard Philippe in July. They discuss and find common ground. Producing both diversity and civil society, this leader of the rope comes home to the Macronian mold: "I live very well on my leftist values in this government." At 43, she hopes that with good will, the world of tomorrow will be better. Macronism pure juice, even in style: she does not hesitate to set foot in the dish. "Since becoming a minister, I have felt like I came back to the competition every day."
While Maracineanu must monitor its budget line – the new minister makes the SAV of the upcoming removal of posts in the ministry – this pragmatic puts all its weight to fight against discrimination. Homophobic songs in football stadiums? She says they discovered them in March, a classic Sunday evening at the Parc des Princes. Yet she has already set foot in these arenas, at one time, it must be admitted, where these subjects were not her subject. Nevertheless, we feel at her a sincerity rare at this level: by punching on the table, the ex-swimmer is both common sense and, at the same time, a relative disconnect with the fans of the favorite sport of the French.
The fight where she will not let go? Gender inequalities. Awareness has come with her children, she says: "What motivates me is not that my daughter plays football, but that my boy can do some dancing."
1998 World Champion 200m backstroke.
2000 Silver medal at the Sydney Olympics.
2010-2015 Regional Advisor in Ile-de-France (related to PS).
September 2018 Minister of Sports.
Quentin Descamps photo Henrike Stahl for "Liberation"