Perle Bouge is a miracle. “I was lucky to be alive before. The chance, too, to be surrounded by my family, my relatives. They didn’t see the handicap, they mostly realized that I was not far from death. There are times when it’s hard, when you cry of course, but I was like “Wow, I’m still here”. I very quickly put it into perspective: I remember, for example, having crossed paths with a young victim of a motorcycle accident who was quadriplegic. In my situation, you are not complaining… ”.

In 1997, she was only 19 years old when a driver denied her priority and crashed into her in the city center of Rennes while she was on her motorbike. For the one who multiplied sports, did karate, bike or run, “the stop is all the more brutal if it happens suddenly.”

If she recognizes that, for her older sister, the anger towards the driver was particularly strong, the Bretillian assures that she has never been resentful: “No one is safe, we can all be at home. the origin of an accident unintentionally. Sometimes all it takes is a moment of inattention … “More than the accident, it was the attitude of the person responsible for it that she deeply regretted:” I remember the court hearing. He never apologized or expressed remorse. There is nothing worse than not taking responsibility. “

The Rennaise, however, “lived quite a bit” with her handicap. In a rehabilitation center, she discovered wheelchair basketball thanks to her sports educator. “Handisport has really helped me,” she says. We regain a taste for sport, we tell ourselves that it exists ”. She then joined the Rennes club: “There were only boys,” Perle Bouge remembers with a smile. But I was very well received there “. Quickly contacted by the coach of the France team, she joined the French basketball players. Among which several Breton women. La Rennaise then built her professional project around disabled sports, linking her studies with the possibility, always, of progressing in her discipline. She left Ille-et-Vilaine for Saint-Brieuc, then Pau and Canada. For nine years, from 2001 to 2010, she therefore competed with the French wheelchair basketball team. Until the disillusionment of not qualifying for the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008. “It gave me a big questioning.”

It was a combination of circumstances that led him to move… towards rowing. “I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of it myself,” admits the Breton. It was someone from the rowing federation who contacted me because they knew I was looking for a new project, to offer to give me a try. “

Perle Bouge then passed physical tests and, without the slightest training, beat the times of the best Frenchwoman of the time. “I spoke to my entourage, including a very close person who was in the basketball business and who said to me ‘Pearl, you’ve done the tour’. The project was interesting, structured, and I was given the feeling of believing in myself ”. She takes the plunge. “Because you have to know how to take risks in life.” It is at Aviron Bayonnais, in the southwest of France where she practices, that the 43-year-old sports technical advisor is now thriving.

More than ten years later, she will participate in her third Paralympic Games. Silver medalist in London and bronze medal in Rio, the one who describes herself as someone “very square, who likes to surpass herself physically and technically” wants, alongside a new teammate, to bring back a new charm from the Games of Tokyo.

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Tokyo 2020. Perle Bouge, the eternal optimist at the Paralympic Games