“The sporting life of Mademoiselle Marvingt is of a most extraordinary kind. Swimming, cycling, mountain climbing, ballooning, flying, riding, gymnastics, athletics, fencing -- there is not a single sport in which she does not shine. Where coolness, courage, and skill are required, in the aerodrome, on the mountains, in the sea, at the fencing school, she is always to be seen in the front rank.”
--“The World’s Greatest Sportswoman,” Forest and Stream, 1913
Marie Marvingt's stature as an all-around athlete and recordwoman was validated by the 1910 gold medal awarded to her by the French Academy of Sports for her expertise in all sports. Yes, all sports. She remains the only individual so honored.
By that time, she had outshot an entire army division to be named a first-class shot, was a world-class mountain climber, and had won twenty first prizes in the Winter Sports at Chamonix in skiing, skating, and luge. She had also won prizes, set records, or displayed outstanding expertise in dozens of other arenas.
As a lifelong athlete, Marie enjoyed an uncommon physical vitality that allowed her to remain active almost to the end. At age 86, she strapped on a 40-lb backpack and bicycled from Nancy to Paris (208 miles) and back again. By herself.