Former Olympic swimmer Roxana Maracineanu has been named the new Sports Minister in France. Maracineanu is 43 years old and she is now replacing Laura Flessel who has resigned due to personal reasons.
Maracineanu was born in Bucharest and emigrated to France in 1984. She was only 9 years old when she arrived in France. Immediately on arrival, her family asked for political asylum.
In 1998 she has become the first sportsperson from France to win the world title for swimming. Then, in 2000 she has won the second place at the 200 metres category at the Sydney Olympic games. In 2004 she retired and then she worked as a consultant for diverse TV programmes and then entered politics. She has thus worked as a regional council in Ile de France. She is married to French journalist Franck Ballanger and has three children. Maracineanu stated in a 2013 interview that at the Sydney Olympiad when she lost the gold medal to Diana Mocanu she cried when the Romanian anthem played. She stated
It was because it is also my hymn. I was born twice. First time in Bucharest and then, at nine years old, in France.
She noted that after communism fell she returned to Romania several times and now she often visits the country with her three children.