Like Marianne Mako, Hélène Legrais was one of the first women journalists to work in sports.
They were the pioneers. While sports journalism until then seemed exclusively reserved for men, Marianne Mako and Hélène Legrais opened a path in the early 80s by joining the sports department. And like the one who would become, a few years later, the first female officer at Telefoot, her colleague had a complicated start. Blame it on sexism – at best – which was prevalent within the editorial staff.
Even before Marie Portolano, who signed last spring, the documentary “ I’m not a slut, I’m a journalist ” which shook the sports editors, Hélène Legrais had written a book in order to return to these difficult times. Recently interviewed in front of Kombini’s camera, the one who studied in Perpignan and then in Lille gave an edifying testimony. “I must salute Pierre Loctin, who was the head of the sports department of France Inter, who had the audacity, in 1984, to take, out of four trainees, three girls. There was Marianne Mako, Nathalie de Broc, she first said. He was not a young person who wanted to revolutionize everything. It was, in quotes, an old man from the ORTF, who had said to himself that it was time for girls to make their entry into sports journalism. “
An entry that obviously was not to everyone’s taste. “There are those who accepted us straight away. But there are others, much less, in particular those which had so-called masculine sections: football, cycling, she continued. I have experienced sometimes difficult things. It ranged from simple criticism, constant questioning, to sexual assault. “ And Hélène Legrais to detail the scene, to say the least shocking.
Especially not to cry
“When you are called into the office: ‘Hélène, I have something to tell you. Lucky for me, I’m very sensitive to voices, I immediately understood that he was up to something for me. I went to look for a journalist from the service next door, it was the economy service, asking him “Can you come with me, please?” I arrived at this office to find the sports reporter standing on his desk, stripped from his waist to his ankles, she explained. I didn’t have much time to look. What I saw most of all was his face when he saw that I was accompanied and the color to which he turned. He turned green. “
And according to him, this sexual assault is not an isolated case. “Throughout my career as a sports journalist, which lasted until the Barcelona Games in 1992, I played football, the Multiplexes, with Marianne Mako, Clarence Rodriguez… we were the first three women to comment on football live . We’ve all had experiences like this. Every morning, you had to put on your armor to go to work, so as not to let yourself be destabilized, especially not to cry, not to complain and especially not to get upset because in this case, you were being treated as a ‘hysterical. I developed my sense of repartee. Because it was necessary to know how to say stop, but with a pirouette, something which allowed to make it pass with humor, she added, evoking “Gritty jokes all day long”. What no doubt participate in his desire to change service.