Paris 2024: ‘Athletes are at the heart of our project’

Five-time Olympic champion Martin Fourcade shares his vision for the Olympic Games next year, as Paris marks one year to go until the Opening Ceremony

Paris 2024: ‘Athletes are at the heart of our project’

Exactly one year from now (July 26, 2024), we will welcome the Olympic Games to my home country, and I am counting down the days. Paris 2024 will be the Games of a new era, as the first Games planned and delivered in line with all the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020. They will serve as a blueprint that will help shape future editions of the Olympic Games and inspire other major events

Paris will provide the 10,500 best athletes in the world with an incredible stage to live their dream and perform at their best, in an urban setting with the city’s magnificent landmarks as a backdrop. The action will happen in 32 sports, and for the first time in history the same number of male and female athletes are set to compete – one of the main achievements of the many International Olympic Committee reforms being implemented in Paris. This exemplifies how the Olympic Games are much more than a sporting competition. They are about equality; they unite the entire world in peaceful competition.

It has been my mission, as Chair of the Paris 2024 Athletes’ Commission, to make sure that athletes’ needs are met, that we do not forget anyone. Athletes have been at the heart of our project from the very beginning. You see it already in the leadership of the Organising Committee: Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet is a three-time Olympic champion.

French Olympian Martin Fourcade [International Olympic Committee]

We have been speaking with athletes throughout the whole process, finding out about everything from the type of food they want to eat at the Olympic Village to the quality of their training venues. We’re working on unique moments like the Opening Ceremony on July 26, 2024, which, for the first time, will take place not in a stadium, but on the River Seine, with several hundred thousand people watching live. We also created Champions Park to celebrate the athletes in the heart of the city after their competitions: a unique experience in one of the most iconic places in Paris: Le Trocadéro. I am getting goosebumps already, just talking about it.

Paris 2024 is also setting new sustainability standards for major sporting events by encouraging energy conservation, innovation and creativity. For example, the infrastructure being used for the Games is 95 per cent existing or temporary, with new sites like the Olympic Village set to become homes for over 6,000 people after the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024. Additionally, every venue will be accessible by public transport, and our goal is to use 100 per cent renewable energy at Games time. We plan to halve the carbon emissions compared to the average of London 2012 and Rio 2016.

The Games will be more urban and more youthful than ever, with sports such as skateboarding and sport climbing returning for their second appearance together with surfing – which will be held on the world’s best waves in Tahiti – and with an Olympic debut for breaking. Events will be taking place in the heart of the city, with famous Parisian landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Pont Alexandre III and many more being transformed into outstanding competition venues.

Paris 2024 will also live up to its slogan “Games Wide Open” by engaging the public in new and fun ways with mass participation opportunities like the “Marathon pour tous”, where over 40,000 members of the public will have the chance to run the Olympic marathon route. In Paris, you will not only be a spectator, but you can actively take part in the Games if you want to.

I can’t wait to see how the whole country will get involved and celebrate these Games. With 70 per cent of the 10 million tickets available already sold, athletes will be performing in front of packed stadiums, not only in the city of Paris, but throughout France.

I am already very proud of these Games in the making. Athletes and spectators of the world: get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Paris next year. See you there!

Martin Fourcade is Chair of the Paris 2024 Athletes’ Commission and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission.

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