le coq sportif

The Tour du France, sport's most grueling event.

Over 23 days, only two of them rest days, cyclists ride almost 3,300 kilometers, with differences in elevation exceeding 2,000 meters. Climbing the Alps in the mid-summer heat, they find snow at the top before heading back downhill at speeds of over 100 km/h. Blistering heat, bitter cold, scorching sun, cutting wind.

The only thing protecting the athletes from the elements is their apparel.

In 1951, that quality was recognized as le coq sportif supplied all 12 teams in the race. Since then, le coq sportif has continued supporting the drama behind the Tour de France.

A talented young man was tapped to play for the national team when he was 17. Finally at age 22, he appeared in the tournament footballers dream of playing in.

He wore number 10 on this reigning championship team.

He faced considerable attention and pressure. Frustrated at finding himself marked and rendered powerless on the field, he retaliated, was given a red card, and left the match.

But four years later, he made what was called the "Goal of the Century"in the quarter-final match against England.

Receiving the pass while still in his team's own half, he dribbled his way alone past one opponent in the trap, spinning away from another and then two more with exquisite timing, never relying on exaggerated feints before finally getting past the goalkeeper and slotting the ball into the net for the goal.

Just 13 touches of his left foot.

After winning the final match, he was hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates in victory.

On his chest: the embroidered le coq sportif emblem.

A professional golfer walks a lonely road.

Though surrounded by caddies who know the course and staff who take care of equipment, the golfer is painfully aware that all eyes are on her as she decides how to approach and take each shot.

Whether or not the shot goes as planned, she accepts the consequences, marks her score, and moves on.

Every decision, every result, is his singular responsibility.

Self-control in isolation. Golfers with that kind of control are a beautiful sight to behold. At such times, design is a powerful weapon.

Believing in oneself becomes a source of strength.

Nicknamed "Le Roi," meaning the King of France, this man dominated the game.

He would pass the ball to a decisive position with the minimum touches. He would appear in unexpected places and guide the ball toward the goal with his scoring instincts.

What many people remember about him is his decisive free kicks that were critical tipping points between victory and defeat, in a last qualifying match that would spell elimination if his team lost it, and a final that secured a championship.

** Not a natural talent **

His slight physique posed a problem that restricted him to a contract with a small, weak club that shuffled back and forth between the first and second divisions.

As a reserve player, however, he gained a unique weapon there. He once said that in his youth, he refined his forte by practicing shooting from the halfway line.

It all started when he first went pro and, donning the le coq sportif jersey, would shoot day in and day out from the halfway line.

A short-sleeved knit shirt with a sailor-style collar appeared in the 1930 le coq sportif catalog.

This was the forerunner of the polo shirt, responsible for a major change in tennis wear.

In 1968, with discrimination still a powerful force, Arthur Ashe conquered the U.S. Open, becoming the first black athlete to sweep all four major men's singles tournaments.

He later went on to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon. A pioneer among black athletes, Ashe helped changed the world, and also discovered and supported Yannick Noah. The Arthur Ashe Signature model continues to be loved around the world today.