France's Antoine Dupont runs the ball to score a try...

France's Antoine Dupont runs the ball to score a try against Australia during a Vancouver Sevens rugby game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. Antoine Dupont, Olympian. One of the world’s best rugby players will get to use the new epithet after being included in the French sevens squad for the Olympics in Paris starting later in July. Credit: AP/Ethan Cairns

PARIS — Antoine Dupont, Olympian. One of the world’s best rugby players will get to use the new epithet after being included in the French sevens squad for the Olympics in Paris starting later this month.

The 27-year-old Dupont, already one of the most decorated players in the 15-a-side game, started working with the sevens squad earlier this year with the aim of winning an Olympic gold medal on home soil.

He played three sevens world series tournaments for a return of two gold medals and a bronze. He only had to stay healthy through his regular club commitments to have his selection confirmed when the French rugby federation announced its men’s and women’s Olympic squads on Monday.

“After an emotionally intense season,” the federation said, “the management team has revealed the list of players selected to defend the French colors during the rugby sevens events at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

The already high expectations on the French men's squad intensified after it won its first world series title in Madrid last month, beating league-leading Argentina 19-5 in the final.

This season already the French men won the Los Angeles stop of the world series in March for their first tournament victory in 19 years.

France entered the world series finale in Madrid ranked fifth but peaked at the right time edge two-time Olympic champion Fiji in the semifinals and then Argentina in the decider.

“We have a big target in a few weeks,” France coach Jerome Daret said at the time, "and maybe win the Olympics.”

Dupont's sevens teammate Paulin Riva explained the reason for the recent success: “When he is on the pitch, we have a lot of confidence.”

The France women's team finished runner-up in the world series finals to 2016 Olympic champion Australia. And despite never winning a title on the world series tour, the French women are strong medal contenders in Paris.

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Squads:

Men: Jean-Pascal Barraque, Antoine Dupont, Théo Forner, Aaron Grandidier Nkanang, Jefferson Lee Joseph, Stephen Parez-edo Martin, Varian Pasquet, Rayan Rebbadj, Paulin Riva, Jordan Sepho, Andy Timo, Antoine Zeghdar.

Women: Anne-Cécile Ciofani, Lili Dezou, Caroline Drouin, Camille Grassineau, Joanna Grisez, Chloé Jacquet, Iän Jason, Carla Neisen, Lou Noel Rivier, Séraphine Okemba, Chloé Pelle, Yolaine Yengo.

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