The Olympic Channel has a new documentary video profiling Didier Dinart, the French Men’s National Team Coach and former player. It’s a great documentary that chronicles his life from growing up in Guadeloupe, to moving to mainland France at age 16, to becoming the Rock of the French defense to becoming National Team Coach. And, it does so with some great highlights of France’s Olympic failures and successes and how he worked to improve his defensive tactics. It also goes full circle with his return to Guadeloupe and the christening of an arena named there in his honor.
If you were to ask me who my all-time favorite handball player is you might be a bit surprised with my answer: Didier Dinart.
But, then if you thought about it a bit. That I was a defensive specialist and lived in France for five years you probably wouldn’t be surprised at all. Dinart redefined or maybe just simply defined what a defensive specialist was. Seriously, the handball dictionary, if such a thing were to exist would have a little picture of Dinart next to the entry on defense specialist.
If one watches a handball match with a bigger picture view (i.e. not simply following the ball from pass to pass 100% of the time) Dinart’s greatness as a defender becomes obvious. No one matched his combination of strength and quickness. No one ever shut down (yes, shut down) a greater portion of the 6 meter arc. It was almost as if France had 6 and a half defenders some of the time. Yes, a lot of France’s domination in the 2000’s has been rightly attributed to Karabatic and Omeyer, but folks would be wise to add a 3rd player who also played huge role: Dinart.
In my opinion, if you want to talk about who’s the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) defender the discussion begins and ends with Dinart.
The Olympic Channel has two versions of the documentary.
(Note: you can click on the icon at the bottom of the screen for English subtitles)