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France’s social media superstars

The French "social media superstars" on Facebook ("En route pour Nanjing") are players Lezana Placette (second from the left), Arnaud Gauthier-Rat (third from the left), Alexia Richard (third from the right) and Arnaud Loiseau with their coaches.

Nanjing, China, August 22, 2014 - Few teams are having more fun in Nanjing than the French.

Take a selfie with Youth Olympic Games volunteers? Been there.

Pose and make funny faces with the official Nanjing 2014 mascot? Done that.

“We want to take as many photos as possible so we remember these memories,” said France’s Arnaud Loiseau.

But the most fun picture? An image that shows them marching in step with Chinese soldiers.

According to the players, they arrived to the Nanjing YOG Sports Park and asked for directions to the beach volleyball venue. A volunteer told them to follow a group of marching soldiers who were going in the same direction.

The French players took the instruction quite literally. The players marched right behind the soldiers at the exact same pace. They were told to stop, but not before a delegate, Karim Levy, snapped a quick photo.

“It is a really amazing photo,” admitted France’s Alexia Richard.

All of the pictures are posted a Facebook page dedicated to France’s experiences at the Youth Olympic Games. In just a couple of weeks, it already has more than 1,000 page likes.

“It is touching how many people back home are following our journey,” Richard said. “It gives us strength.”

The French do more than just take photos. They have also been asked to pose for numerous photos with fans and volunteers.

“The Chinese are always so happy to see us,” Loiseau said.

At the beach volleyball venue, France’s men’s and women’s teams have developed a reputation loudly supporting their teammates.

“Our schedules are different, so we don’t see each other a lot off the court,” Loiseau said. “But we always support each other on the court.”

When the do spend time together off the court, the French enjoy exploring Nanjing.

“I like everything about China,” Loiseau said with a big smile on his face. “It is hard to pick my favorite thing.”


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