Maren Yohannes, the unrequited force of the basketball team at Les Bleues du

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The author of a superb lopsided shot at the end of the match against Spain in the Olympic quarter-finals, Navy Yohannes Le Bleu allowed her to advance to the round of four. At 26, Normandy became one of the pillars of the France team. The basketball player of choice, in the French championship and even in the WNBA, shines.

There are only 23 seconds left to play. Les Bleues led by only a small point in the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Olympics against their best Spanish opponents. The tension is high and the stakes are high: qualifying for the Games final. Then Marines Yohannes recovered the ball and sprayed the match with a shot with her secret. On one foot, unbalanced and at the bell, she scored with the board, giving her team a three-point lead and sending France into the semi-finals.

“Basket in the Navy,” mischievously described the tricolor coach to the French Basketball Federation website after this qualification at the end of a period of suspense. “I almost lost the ball. I tried to get it back and I felt I was going to have to shoot. Luck,” for his part, commented humbly Marines Yohannes.


The game’s top scorer with 18 points, the 26-year-old basketball player knows how to get the miracle shot at the right time. However, Norman from Lisieux is known to be reserved. Away from the spotlight, she follows her path discreetly, but with a rare talent.

She discovered the orange ball at the age of eight at Pont-Lévèque, the same club that Nicolas Batum came from, and he also qualified with the French men’s team for the semi-finals in Tokyo. It’s a thunderbolt. “The day Marin discovered basketball in Pont-l’Évêque, it was Jennifer, her sister, who we imagined scoring. Our two daughters were shy and we thought it would be good for Jennifer to play a team sport. Finally, she kept dancing and ponying. For the Marines, the magic worked on the The spot,” her mother, Geraldine Johannes Luest France, said.


“Little Mozart of French Basketball”

As a teenager, her talent was already evident. “She sweated basketball, she lived only for basketball. She was able to dribble behind the back and blind passes, a lot of things very rare at this age,” she described to Sport in Caen one of his first coaches, Samuel Vale, who made her join Moundville FC . First titles linked: UNSS France Champion, France Cadet Champion, Coupe de France Student Winner.

When she was first named to the France A team in 2015 with whom she was crowned vice-champion in 2017, 2019 and 2021, Mondeville coach Romain L’Hermitte, questioned by Liberté newspaper, compared her to NBA star Stephen Curry: “They have the same Playing style, Marin plays like a boy. There is no match in France, even in the men’s Pro A. Even if they are more physical, no one is able to take shots like her (…) Marines don’t play the same basketball as the others. When you play, it is That’s an art. She has an incredible ease with the ball. It’s the little Mozart of French basketball, and she reads melodies.”

A few months later, she was recruited by the prestigious Bourges team and immediately took part in her first games in Rio. The world discovers the extent of his football capabilities in his hand. During the semi-finals against the United States, in a “cross” dribble followed by a step back and a three-point basket, WNBA star Maya Moore was left behind.

A mission in the WNBA

Then the American League draws attention to him. In 2019, New York Liberty offered him to join the WNBA, which takes place in the summer, from May to August. Since her first match, she has struck morale, scoring 10 points in 16 minutes. Even if she can’t play in the US in 2020 due to a global pandemic and in 2021 because of the Olympics, she hopes to find US stadiums in the summer of 2022.

Until then, she will continue to wear the shirt of Tony Parker’s club, Lyon Asvelle, with whom she has signed a two-season contract, and above all she will try to push Les Bleues to the Olympic final. Despite her shy appearance, she knows how to save battery power when needed. On the field, she has an explosive temper that can sometimes play a few tricks on her. “She has to work to maintain calm during the slightly hot moments of the match,” explained her former teammate in Bourget Elodie Godin, according to what was reported by the official Olympic Games website.

The frustrations the player works on on a daily basis. “I try to talk to myself and tell myself that it doesn’t matter. The actions follow each other so I try to tell myself that the next actions will be better,” she admitted to the French Basketball Association.

Semi-finals with a taste of revenge

On the way to the final, the Japanese have already met in the group stage. The Japanese won the opening match (74-70). The Marines, Johannes, seemed to be struggling as well during this encounter, and settled on five points in 16 minutes.

Two weeks later, Normandy shows another face and intends to learn from this defeat. “We remember that first match, it was not easy. We still have tomorrow to work and we will move to Japan,” she declared with a sobriety of distinction.

Les Bleues will play their third consecutive semi-final at the Olympic Games. In 2012, in London, they achieved the feat of reaching the final against the United States, where they won the silver medal.

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