Marie Marvingt


A few highlights from her life illustrate Marie Marvingt's accomplishments, vigor, and passion:
1875: born February 22 in Aurillac, France
1879: was swimming 4 kilometers at a time
1886: conceived a lifelong passion for the bicycle
1889: played billiards, fenced, learned to tame animals and work the trapeze
1892: won first prize in a canoe race
1899: obtained her driver's license
1901: while still involved in sports, she took up ballooning
1905: as a by-now experienced mountain-climber she achieved several firsts; biked in the Nancy-Naples race; won another canoe race; added more balloon ascensions; organized the first civilian ski school in France; drove a car from Bussang to Aurillac; hunted seals in the Arctic
1906: swam across Paris in the Seine, setting the first record for a Frenchwoman
1907: won first prize in the International Rifle Competition in two divisions, making her the first woman to be named "first-rank shot" by the Ministry of War
1908: completed her own personal Tour de France
1909: became the first person, woman or man, to cross the North Sea (direction France to England) in a balloon
1910: started taking flying lessons, flew solo on the difficult Antoinette biplane, was the third woman in the world to obtain a pilot's license, set first women's world records in aviation
1908-1910: won 20 first prizes in the Winter Sports at Chamonix and Gérardmer in iceskating, skiing, and luge
1911: won first prize in a balloon distance race
1912: completed the Paris-Irish Sea balloon course (and made 14 other balloon ascensions that year); crashed in the countryside in her Deperdussion biplane
1914-1918: worked as a Red Cross surgical nurse in field hospitals; bombed an enemy airbase and flew several missions; fought in the front lines disguised as a soldier; evacuated troops from the Dolomites on skiis; was awarded the Croix de Guerre
The list of accomplishments, awards, and activities of Marie Marvingt consists of six sheets of single-spaced items. See the complete, annotated list in her biography. If it helps, know that Marie Marvingt slept only 2-4 hours a night.