Famous in France: Dumerc's First Week Documented by French Journalists
Celine Dumerc's first week in the United States was barely a blip on the radar in the United States' sports scene last week, but in her native France, it was a much bigger deal. The Dream"s new point guard helped the team to a pair of victories in her first week, and two different film crews who had flown over from France were on hand to capture the experience.
Although acclimating to life in the United States and the WNBA was something new for Dumerc, the attention from the French media was not. Dumerc became a superstar in France during the 2012 London Olympics, when she helped lead her country to a silver medal with a dazzling display of skill and clutch play.
In fact, following her Olympic performance, Team USA head coach Geno Auriemma called Dumerc "the most important player and the most impactful player in the tournament."
Since then, she has grown accustomed to having her every move followed by fans and the media.
"After the Olympics and the silver medal, the media started to follow us a little bit, and especially me, so I started to get used to it," said Dumerc. "I don"t have any problem to talk in French. In English it"s a little more difficult, but in French I talk easily and I"m very open, so I don"t have any problem if there are people there to record it."
After finishing her French League season, Dumerc arrived in the U.S. on Sunday, June 1. That same day, a two-person film crew from Int"rieur Sport, a sports magazine that is broadcast in France on Canal +, arrived to follow Dumerc. They followed her throughout her entire first week in Atlanta for a documentary they will produce about her experience. The crew also plans to return later in the year for the playoffs to capture the conclusion of Dumerc"s journey.
Journalist Vincent Alix from Int"rieur Sport, who has also profiled such notable French sports stars as Tony Parker, said that Dumerc"s immense popularity in France made the decision to come to America to film the experience an easy decision.
"C"line is one of the most popular athletes in France," said Alix. "For her this was a big experience, so we asked to live it with her. For us it"s very important to be here, because it"s the best league in the world."
On Thursday, June 5, three more journalists from FranceTV Sport arrived to add to the media focus. They also filmed several hours" worth of footage through Sunday before heading to Miami to cover the French players in the NBA Finals.
Although the 2012 Olympics sent her popularity to a new level, Dumerc has been considered one of the best European players for a number of years. The 31-year-old"s popularity stems not only from her skills on the court, but also from her demeanor off of it.
"She is very popular because she is a very good athlete and a clutch player," said Alix. "But the people also like her because she"s always laughing, she speaks with the fans and it"s easy to speak with her."
Dumerc, to her credit, views the constant presence of the cameras not as an intrusion, but rather an opportunity.
"It"s a good opportunity to show a new experience in women"s basketball to France," said Dumerc. "Here everybody has been open for them (film crews). In France we want to hide more " they don"t have full access everywhere. So I think it"s good for the people in France to realize that we can show some inside access stuff."
And for Dumerc, there was one more benefit to having the film crews here.
"They are French, and it"s my first time here, so I can talk French with them," she said. "That"s helped me a little bit."