At 17, Manaudou won the women's 400 metres freestyle at the Athens Olympics, setting a European record and becoming the first Frenchwoman to win an Olympic swimming title. It was also the first gold medal in swimming for France since 1952.
She also won a silver in the 800 metres freestyle and a bronze in the 100 metres backstroke.
Going into the Olympics Manaudou was not ranked among the top 25 in the world in her event, yet she led from start to finish in the fourth fastest time in history.
"I have been preparing myself for three years for this day. My objective in Athens was victory, nothing else. I am very happy,” she said. She also received a message from French President Jacques Chirac telling her “France is proud of you.”
In November she set a 1,500 metres freestyle short-course world record of 15 mins 42.39 secs and has received countless awards as the French Sports Personality of the Year.