French Federation Says Wall Crash By Yohann N’Doye-Brouard Due to Eye Condition

Jul 27, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; A general view during heat one of the men's 4x200m freestyle relay heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports

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French Federation Says Wall Crash By Yohann N’Doye-Brouard Due to Eye Condition

France’s Yohann N’Doye-Brouard qualified sixth for the semifinals of the men’s 100 backstroke at the Tokyo Olympics, and as he was churning towards the halfway point of the race, he did not turn over onto his stomach and flip. Instead, he crashed into the wall and came to a complete stop. He tried to turn around and get going agin, but he pushed off on his stomach, so he was disqualified.

Two days later, N’Doye-Brouard has chosen to explain what happened, and he revealed there is absolutely a reason why he did not see the flags. N’Doye-Brouard explained that he has a condition called keratonconus in both eyes, and he was not able to receive surgery before the Olympics because of the timing of the European Championships, his school exams and, of course, the Olympics. He said that he had not been planning on offering an excuse for his mistake, but he chose to do so because of the general “astonishment and misunderstanding” about his situation.

Read the full statement from N’Doye-Brouard, provided by the French swimming federation to Swimming World. The original statement was given in French, so this was translated.

I explained after my race that I hadn’t seen the flags. Out of decency and so as not to appear to be looking for excuses, I did not want to explain the reasons that caused this incident. But I realize that there is a lot of astonishment and misunderstanding, which I can understand at this level of competition and I owe myself an explanation.

I was diagnosed with keratoconus in both eyes last year which has worsened in recent weeks and for which I am awaiting surgery. With the floodlights in the pool, the heavy waves just before the turn, I didn’t see the flags. I was feeling good so I figured I was at 45m and the flags were coming as I hit the wall.

I am in contact with a professor from the Rotschild Foundation, specialized in interventions on the cornea, to be operated soon. I would have liked to solve the problem before the Olympics, but the timing was not good between the European Championships, the university exams and the preparation for the Games. I’m bound to be frustrated, but now I want to leave that behind to focus on the rest.


  1. avatar
    Bonnie Kmiotek

    What surgery are you waiting on? My son also has keratoconus…..

  2. avatar
    Mary Pat

    Dear Mr. N’Ddoye-Brouard,

    I am an American woman and want you to know that I will be praying for a successful operation to repair the damage (or whatever type of surgery is involved). I will put you on the prayer list at my church. God bless you and best wishes in your future endeavors.

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