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Paris 2024: applicants, failed candidates, favorites, who as tricolor flag bearer at the Olympics?

As the place of flag bearer for the Paris Olympic Games is still free on the French delegation's side, many athletes have decided to apply.

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Paris 2024: applicants, failed candidates, favorites, who as tricolor flag bearer at the Olympics?

As the place of flag bearer for the Paris Olympic Games is still free on the French delegation's side, many athletes have decided to apply. If the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) intends to reappoint a man and a woman, as in the 2021 edition, certain candidates are already out of the running. State of play a few months before the start of the competition.

In great shape four months before the start of the Games, Florent Manaudou can be seen as the favorite. At 33, the experience of the four-time Olympic medalist as well as his winning mindset could make the difference and turn to his advantage. Sunday March 24 at the microphone of Bartoli Time on RMC, the swimmer shared his dream of becoming a standard bearer: “It’s something that makes me dream. When I see the previous standard bearers, they are people who have been inspirations for me, so if one day I am a standard bearer, that would mean that I am an inspiration for young people and that would make me very happy. It wouldn’t be a pressure for me, it would be something that galvanizes me,” he said.

A dream shared by volleyball star Earvin Ngapeth. According to our colleagues from L'Équipe, the 33-year-old player sent an email last week to Axelle Guiget, national technical director, in which he expressed his wish to become a standard bearer. A proposal studied and validated by the executive office of the Federation. For Éric Tanguy, president of the French Volleyball Federation, Ngapeth would make a good standard bearer. "He is motivated. (...) He is the symbol of French volleyball, he represents our sport well and he is an excellent candidate,” he told RMC Sport.

On the women's side, discus thrower Mélina Robert-Michon also expressed her desire to be the standard bearer of the French delegation. “It would be such pride,” she told AFP during an interview in Lyon, her base camp. Competing in the Games in his country means a lot to the 44-year-old athlete: “It’s a great chance. Having experienced several, to be able to experience this in France, to see the atmosphere and everything that it can bring, it's exceptional. It played a big role in my decision to continue (my career), to push on to Paris. In an interview with Le Figaro, boxer Estelle Mossely also expressed the wish to become a standard bearer. “I want it, it’s an ambition. I'm not the only one and we're not kidding about it, it's a fun war between us. I see that as a nice side. Like the class representative that I have never been and never wanted to be, but here, sportingly speaking, it would be magical.”

On March 13, the CNOSF revealed the selection conditions to be standard bearer at the Paris 2024 Games. Conditions which have already ousted serious candidates in the person of Teddy Riner and Clarisse Agbégnénou.

And for good reason, a condition stipulates that athletes already carrying the flag cannot be renewed. “Having the chance to be a flag bearer is unique, fabulous, but it is associated with an Olympics. We consider that there is such richness in French sport that it is normal that there are new athletes who can apply,” explained David Lappartient, president of the CNOSF. News that did not convince everyone the world. Firstly, judokate Clarisse Agbégnénou who spoke of “discriminating conditions.”

If selected, Victor Wembanyama, Antoine Dupont and Kylian Mbappé will also not have the privilege of carrying the tricolor banner. Indeed, the first criterion stated by the French National Olympic and Sports Committee is “to have already been an Olympian”. “The first criterion revealed by the CNOSF is simple: you must have already participated in the Games to be able to claim to brandish the tricolor standard on the Seine during the opening ceremony on July 26, or Place de la Concorde on August 28.” , can you read about the selection conditions.

Among the men, in addition to the name of Florent Manaudou, already mentioned previously, those of the decathlete Kévin Mayer and the basketball player Nicolas Batum have come out. But the one who is favored by public opinion is a handball player. Nikola Karabatic obtained 46% of the votes in a poll carried out by L’Équipe on March 22. As a reminder, the PSG player will end his career at the end of these Paris Olympic Games. An announcement made in August 2023: “This season will be my last and I wanted to write to you.” On the women's side, and according to this same survey, Mélina Robert-Michon obtains the favor of voters. She is ahead of the footballers, Wendy Renard and Eugénie Le Sommer.

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