Secrets From The Saddle: All things Cycling PODCAST
127. Meet MARION CLIGNET. Epilepsy didn't Stop Her from Becoming on of the Most Decelerated Female Cyclist in the 1990's
September 22, 2021
In this episode, you will learn how Marion Clignet didn't allow Epilepsy to stop her from racing her bike. She started her journey in the USA, when the USA didn't want her to race for them because of her epilepsy, she moved to France where she took multiple World Championship wins. NOw she advocates for the return of the Tour de France for Women.


My name is Marion Clignet. At the age of 22 I discovered I had epilepsy and was told I wouldn’t be allowed to drive for a year. Why? We had to find the right treatment that would allow me to live seizure-free. A tad frustrated by this change and by the way the doctors told me I had to keep having epilepsy a secret because it was very tabou and that I shouldn't do any sports, I decided to do just the opposite. I took up a job as a strength and conditioning coach 30kms from my house and bought a bike to get me there and back. One thing led to another, I battled with neurologists to find the right medications with the least amount of side effects and I fought hard to push myself forward and not get caught up feeling sorry for myself because of this sudden change.
I fought so hard that I rode to the following victories:
US National team time trial Champion 1990
US National Road Silver Medalist 1990
US National Individual Time Trial Bronze Medalist 1990
I qualified for the World Championships to represent the USA in 1990 and they told me they wouldn’t take me to worlds because I had epilepsy and was a risk to the team. Born of french parents with dual nationality and having worked so hard to get to where I was I finished that 1990 season in France and from there turned another chapter in my cycling career and raced for France winning the following races :
10 x FRENCH NATIONAL Road, track and time trial Champion
2 x OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALIST (Atlanta and Sydney)
World record holder from 1996-2000 (3000m pursuit)
Over 350 victories including stage wins in the Tour de France, Giro Feminin, etc
French Long Distance duathlon champion
Sub 3hour Marathon (2’58 Paris 2013)
Trail and mountain running races
5 half ironman victories (thanks to the bike!!)
I stopped racing bikes in 2003 and began coaching. My desire to share my knowledge-good, bad and ugly has taken me from coaching régional men to a tour de France men’s team as well as amateur and elite women. To nourish my addiction to endorphin producing sports I took up running and after a few years of running 10km to cross country to marathons, mountains and trails, duathlons and triathlons….I've tried about everything and now I'm back to riding bikes and doing what I love to get more women on bikes via the Trek Advocate program.
Using the physical and nutritional strategies I put in place to prepare 3 Olympic games, in 2015 I created BAM-Body and Mind with a business partner who specializes in Personal Development. We’ve run workshops for the past 5 years helping top women at Airbus realize their potential 
Since I was diagnosed with epilepsy I have spoken around the globe, first in the United States as a spokesperson for the EFA-Epilepsy Foundation of America appearing on Good Morning America and The Today Show. When I moved to France I continued as a spokesperson for the French Foundation for Research on Epilepsy appearing on ‘Des Racines et des Ailes’ amongst others, and speaking to groups around the country as well as around the world in China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Prague, Venice, etc…
Every year for the past 13 years, with a group of dedicated mates, we organize La Marion Clignet ride for epilepsy in Lisle Jourdain(Southwest France) to raise money to build a gym for children with epilepsy and autism distances range from 35km to 124km (FB page La Marion Clignet). Aaaand! We have finally raised the funds! The gym will be built in 2022!!!
Meet your host Sylvie D'Aoust: Podcaster, Cycling Coach.Passionate about helping women create life balance with Fitness and cycling

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