Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

30. Laura Flessel-Colovic

Age: 36

Headed into her fourth Olympiad with a trophy case already heavy with medals, one might expect French fencer Laura Flessel-Colovic to view Beijing as a grand stage from which to make a graceful exit. But the 36 year-old épée specialist didn't become France's top female Olympic medalist (five, vs. three for her nearest rivals) by arriving at the big show short on motivation. Indeed, the Guadeloupe native—who earned her nickname "la guêpe" (wasp) with an aggressive fencing style and relentless competitive drive—wants to leave the Olympic Games on the same victorious note she entered. After winning individual and team golds in her first Games in Atlanta, Flessel-Colovic had to settle for a sole bronze in Sydney, and a silver individual and bronze team épée medal in Athens. With gold most prevalent of the 12 world championship medals Flessel-Colovic boasts, she'll be seeking one in Beijing to balance out her collection and cap a fantastic career.