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Two years later she married Serge Groussard, a journalist for Le Figaro, and was prepared to forsake her career. But, at the same time, she decided not to forsake her name, which took courage in the '50s. "Berlioux was my third name already," she says. "First I was a Libotte, then a Poincarré, which was the name of my grandparents, and when I went back to my mother I inherited the name of her second husband. Enough! Furthermore, I don't see why a woman ought to take her husband's name. It infuriates me."
The hiatus from work was a brief one. Two months after they were married, Groussard enlisted to fight in Algeria for an Algérie Française, and Berlioux went back to journalism and public relations work. Twice she was pregnant; each time she suffered a miscarriage.
When Berlioux moved to Lausanne in 1967, Groussard stayed in Paris, though he always accompanies her to the Olympics. "We are separated for the time being," she says. "He has become quite sauvage. He decided to go back to literature and he started writing several novels at the same time. We shall see what gets finished." They had a happy reunion last February when Berlioux flew to Paris for their silver wedding anniversary.
Myriam Meuwly first met Berlioux in 1963, during the African Games in Dakar, and that is where Berlioux first met Brundage. "Men were very attracted to her," Meuwly recalls. "She was slimmer then and sweeter. She was so golden, her hair, her eyes, her tan. I wanted to be like her. We both escorted Brundage because there was nobody else who spoke English." The three of them dined together in grand style and later, whenever Brundage asked Meuwly to accompany him to Paris, they would often meet Berlioux for an evening out. "She was always fun to be with," says Meuwly. "She loves caviar and strawberries and good red wine. We laughed a lot. But once, and I think I can reveal this without betraying her, she said to me, 'What wouldn't I give for a little tenderness.' "
It hardly comes as a surprise, then, that Berlioux is a compulsive gift-giver. As proper and stern as she aims to be, her generosity usually—as she must mean it to—smooths the resentment she may have caused. She always remembers the birthdays of her employees and throws lavish Christmas parties, usually at fine restaurants, where she presents tasteful and expensive gifts to each of her guests.
Berlioux remains fiercely French; she had a hard time accepting life in Lausanne. "At first I went to Paris every weekend to breathe," she says. "The Swiss life is very comfortable, but you have to get used to it." Early on in Lausanne she used to drive her car right up on the sidewalks to park as Parisians do, and each time there would be people chasing after her into the store, reminding her that she couldn't park there. "When I complained that you had to walk uphill all the time," she says, "I was told, 'That's why the girls here have such pretty legs.' Arrh!"
By now Madame has come to enjoy Lausanne and the comfort of her attractive duplex in a modern apartment complex that includes a 25-meter outdoor pool, in which she swims 40 laps whenever she can find the time. When she travels she takes every opportunity to dip into a pool or the ocean. The only time she forgoes a swim is when there wouldn't be enough time left for her to dry her hair before the next meeting. "I would look terrible," she says.
She usually wears her hair Peter Pan style, but before meetings and social events in Lausanne she calls upon Jean of Vogue Hair to create a more elegant coiffure. During a recent visit, Madame could be observed listening to Jean, who insisted on telling her all about his latest romantic escapades. Madame, captive in her chair, looked serious, nodding occasionally, evidently to show her intense interest. Later, walking up avenue Villamont, she said, "Jean is such a pédéraste. When he goes on like that, I have time to think about something else."
Later she showed off her tastefully furnished apartment, with its fine pieces of period furniture and paintings, most of which were done by friends in Paris. Still waiting to be given their proper places were mementos from the Moscow Olympics—half a dozen icons, lacquer boxes and an enormous portrait of her by the Soviet painter Ilya Glazunov, done in bright colors with St. Basil's as a backdrop. It was a present Samaranch commissioned as soon as he had been elected IOC president, because, as he says, "We are lucky to have Madame as director."
Berlioux's greatest treasure, however, is her collection of Olympic torches, displayed on top of a bookcase. She has all of them, except the one from the 1936 Games in Berlin, the first time a torch was relayed from Greece to the Olympic stadium. Torch after torch after torch, they represent the essence of Madame Berlioux's life: the continuity of the Olympic Games.