As the countdown continues to tick, 185 days before the opening ceremony of the next Olympic Games on the Seine, long awaited - and feared by some in terms of security -, Emmanuel Macron wanted to present his wishes to sports stakeholders Tuesday afternoon at INSEP (National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance), located in the Bois de Vincennes. A way for the President of the Republic to reaffirm that 2024 will be “the year of realization of the transformations which have been undertaken since 2017 to modernize France, in particular to develop the practice of sport and to support the results of our high-level athletes and to promote the French spirit in the world.”
In front of an assembly of a good thousand people, including 500 high-level athletes (but not Antoine Dupont, Teddy Riner or Kylian Mbappé) but also players from the sporting world, schoolchildren and even workers mobilized on the different Olympic projects, the Head of State wanted to send a “message of confidence and determination” while France will aim for a place in the Top 5 in the medal ranking on the Olympic level, and in the Top 8 for the Paralympics. High objectives, in which Emmanuel Macron firmly believes. “This Top 5 is more achievable than ever according to certain projections which indicate that France could experience its best Games since 1900,” he said, referring to the virtual Gracenote table. “I don’t want to put excessive pressure, I have put it every time and I will continue to put it, but it’s healthy pressure and I trust everyone.”
Far from the turpitudes of the morning in the National Assembly and the disclosure of the report of the parliamentary commission of inquiry devoted to the dysfunctions of sports federations, the atmosphere was intended to be more cheerful and good-natured in the Halle Maigrot of Insep, notably for Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera, present alongside Rachida Dati, the Minister of Culture, and Tony Estanguet, the president of Paris 2024. No reference or particular message from the Head of State on the subject, this one preferring to focus on the challenges awaiting the organizing committee. “The first concerns security, with a terrorist threat which remains present on French soil,” recalled the president, welcoming “the commitment of the Minister of the Interior and under his aegis the Prefect of Police and all services. 30,000 police officers and gendarmes per day will be hard at work to ensure the security of the Games”, also mentioning “their massive investment which will be welcomed, recognized and supported”.
Then comes the question of the fluidity of transport, an immense challenge “with segments where the pressure will be strong but we will get there with the operators and the communities because it is a challenge within our reach” believes the president. “Ensuring service to 100% of sites for 100% of spectators by clean public transport, taking fully into account the needs of daily users of the Ile-de-France network, that is what we will do. To do this, the government will ensure that everyone can fully anticipate and benefit from day-by-day recommendations on the fluidity of public transport and entry conditions on the various security perimeters. We will make this information public in the coming days, also with support for individuals and businesses,” he added. Without forgetting the challenge of making sites accessible to people with disabilities, and this strong desire to leave a legacy beyond 2024, symbolized for example by the swimmability of the Seine and the Marne or even this desire to a “more inclusive and more sporty” France in the future.