Manaudou makes US return

2011-07-09 08:17

Paris - Former Olympic and world champion swimmer Laure Manaudou will make her competitive comeback after a near two-year absence in the United States next week.

The 24-year-old Frenchwoman returns at a meeting in Athens, Georgia starting next Friday, French sports daily L'Equipe announced on Friday.

She is set to line up in the 100m and 200m freestyle, and 100m and 200m backstroke.

Manaudou confirmed her intention to come out of retirement last month, saying she had regained her hunger after retiring from the sport in September 2009 and then giving birth to a baby girl the following April.

She became a national heroine at the 2004 Olympics when she took gold in the 400m freestyle, becoming the first ever female winner from France. She also won silver in the 800m freestyle and bronze in the 100m backstroke.

Despite going on to set several world records, Manaudou struggled to stay on top as problems with her long-time coach and an ugly break-up with her then-Italian swimmer boyfriend saw her pictures splashed over the gossip magazines.

She attempted to bounce back at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but failed miserably and fled the pool in tears. A year later she retired to start a family.

She began training again in October of last year in Auburn, Texas.

Manaudou's return to action is the latest to mark swimming ahead of next year's London Olympics, with both Ian Thorpe and Janet Evans having also said they will compete again.