I once saw an actor named Ed O'Neil interviewed by Whoopi Goldberg in the early 1990's. During the interview she asked O'Neil if success had changed him in any way. He replied that since success came late in life during his early 40's it had no real effect upon him. By then his personality was already carved in stone so to speak and he accumulated enough life experiences to keep it all in perspective.
He did mention that if he was in his early 20's he would have believed all the hype and empty accolades and consequently he would have handled it very, very, badly.
When Laure Manadou won a gold medal in the 400-free in Athens 2004, she was was the first French female swimmer to do so in over 40-years. Laure Manaudou was just 18-years-old at the time and she still had more to accomplish.
Two years later in 2006 she was the first swimmer to tackle Janet Evans's 400-meter free world record swimming a time of 4:03.03 at a French meet.
By 2007, she broke the 200-meter free world record at the World Championships in Sydney, won the 400-free there too, garnered a silver in the 100-meter back, and almost won the 800 until being passed by a determined Kate Ziegler on the last lap.
After 2007 there were no stellar swim accomplishments for Manaudou. Perhaps because her personal life was plastered all over the tabloid press and her naked body all over the internet. (Her jilted boyfriend, Luca Marin, denied having anything to do with this and that it was simply a coincidence that the day they broke up her nude pictures suddenly appeared! No, really!) With all this said, I am sure this violation of her privacy, both physical and sexual, has probably distracted her as a young adult.
If this sounds like an obituary, I don't mean it to be. I have a feeling that Manaudou is done with swimming, done with being famous, done with losing races and being tabloid fodder. This is what Associated Press had to say:
The 22-year-old became a national heroine at the 2004 Athens Olympics when she took gold in the 400 metres freestyle - the first ever for her country for a woman. She also won silver in the 800 metres freestyle and bronze in the 100 metres 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 breakup with her Italian swimmer boyfriend saw her picture splashed over the gossip magazines.
She attempted to bounce back at the Beijing Olympics but failed miserably and fled the pool in tears.[Link]