Twitter figure, Philousport died on Saturday. On the occasion of the “Philouday” organized this Tuesday on social networks on the sidelines of his funeral in Corsica, RMC Sport returns to a personality apart from French sport, the “Zidane of the gif”.
“He said what for Ripoll”, this is the content of the message that some 274,800 subscribers of Philousport, alias Philippe Vignolo, on Twitter were able to read this Saturday. Six words to seek to learn of a possible declaration of Noël Le Graët on the future of the coach of the Espoirs. But what the regulars of the social network did not know is that they would no longer benefit from the prose or the famous jokes of the 49-year-old Corsican.
Shortly after the end of the match between the Blues and Hungary at the Euro, the company in charge of its communication announced the death of one of the most known and appreciated figures of the French twittosphere, in particular thanks to his humor or his animations which earned him the nickname “Zidane du GIf”.
“Philippe Vignolo died around 5.30 p.m. of a heart attack in his village of Pietracorbara,” confirmed the agency Les Agents associés. All on Twitter, of course.
In the wake of this sad news, many athletes or sports-related personalities paid tribute to him such as Kylian Mbappé, André-Pierre Gignac, Fabien Galthié or even journalists Isabelle Ithurburu, Marie Portolano and Grégoire Margotton to name a few. ‘them.
Video games and networks, an outlet for disability
In addition to its scathing humor, our national Philousport has also served to uninhibit many disabled people by showing them that the disease would not prevent them from living. A native of Marseille, Philippe Vignolo found himself in an armchair at the age of 9 due to a paralyzing disease, myelopathy, affecting his spinal cord.
After losing her father at a young age, the network star has always had a very tumultuous relationship with her violent and alcoholic mother. In his autobiography Me, Philousports, he even wrote: “I have no memory of my two parents together, not the least photo where they would be entwined. I do not even know if these moments took place.”
One evening in 2011, while looking for information on the hacking of the Sony platform which allows him to play online, Philippe Vignolo accidentally falls on Twitter and falls in love with it. With also difficulties to speak because of his myopathy, social networks allow him to express himself freely and at will.
Stuck in his chair but curious to know the world around him and necessarily refuses him, Philippe Vignolo adapts. Fan of video games, cartoons and manga … and sports, his bedroom allows him to fully experience his passions in front of his screen.
Only two months ago, he even started on Twitch to “have fun and promote handigaming and sport”. On the program, in particular, matches on FIFA and discussions with certain media personalities such as Yoann Riou, basketball player Ali Traoré or most recently with Nathalie Iannetta.
By the strength of his fingers and his wit, the handicapped person unknown to the general public quickly becomes “Philousports”, this endearing personality of the Twitter community in France. An account spotted thanks to its “Gif” (an image format widely used on the web), delivered with an always benevolent humor.
“I think I have impostor syndrome”
Love at first sight is mutual and French tweeters quickly take a liking to him. His growing notoriety even allows him to make a living from his activity on social networks.
More than a simple internet user or network humorist, Philousport has become a real influencer and has developed partnerships with large companies. Ambassador for PMU or to the LNR – he was in charge of the networks for the semi-final between La Rochelle and Racing on Friday evening – Philippe Vignolo had found his way.
“The truth is, I still don’t realize. I think I have impostor syndrome,” says the influencer, with whom RMC Sport spoke on WhatsApp in 2020. Beyond my humor, I feel like I touch people because I’m positive and rarely send bad vibes. “
The reputation of Philousport is such that it goes beyond social networks. The Ministry of Sports called on him at the end of February to boost the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 among young people by publishing the video of his second injection of the vaccine. The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron will even want to meet him, he will refuse so as not to be instrumentalized.
“The day he gave the conference on the new disability laws, I received, with the republican border, a message: ‘Mr. Macron would like to invite you to a conference.’ I did not go, he said in mid-June in an interview for the Ouest-France newspaper. I knew very well that my coming was going to be exploited. Besides, I saw, at the end of the conference, that they put two handicapped people on the platform to take the photo… And there you have it. Afterwards, I have nothing against Macron, but I do not want to serve for political ends. “
When internet users move mountains for him
Often presented as an endearing character with a heart on his hand and a real benevolence, Philousport has constantly kept an incredible popularity rating. His community and the members of the French twittosphere have always supported him. In 2016 for example, at the initiative of her journalist friend Lawrence Leenhardt, Internet users will mobilize to finance her new electric wheelchair. The online prize pool created for the occasion will far exceed the target.
In January 2018, following a complaint from the LFP for a gif using an image of a “phantom penalty” obtained by Malcom during Bordeaux-OL and that a tweet from Jean-Michel Aulas had highlighted, his account had been sanctioned. If Twitter with suspended the Philousport account, the social network had finally turned back a few hours later in the face of the immense mobilization of French fans and Internet users.
Even after the death of Philippe Vignolo, his fans are determined to pay him a strong tribute. The pot launched to flower his grave raised 11,400 euros in just two days.
And to think that the last football match he could watch was the disappointing duel between Hungary and France (1-1) during Euro 2021… An online petition was even launched to organize a minute of silence on the sidelines of the Portugal-France match. A match that Philousport will find a way to see, wherever he is.