Closing its first visit to the French capital, the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission was impressed with Paris 2024’s pioneering new approach to hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in line with Olympic Agenda 2020 and its New Norm. The French plan is an ambitious and inspiring project that uses the Games as a platform for significant developments at the city, regional and national levels, and is being approached with a controlled focus on budgets and deadlines.
“Paris 2024 is delivering on its commitment to host pioneering Olympic Games fully in line with Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap,” IOC Coordination Commission Chair Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant said. “I have been particularly impressed by the ambition of all of the stakeholders involved in this project to take advantage of the opportunity of the Games to create a springboard for the city, region and nation. There is a precise focus on making sure that the basics of budget and delivery are under control while simultaneously presenting to us a project that is ambitious in its objectives in areas like employment, transport and their associated legacies, as well as in its desire to bring a new generation to sport and the Olympic values.”
The inspirational value of the Paris 2024 project was clear for the Commission at an event held under the Eiffel Tower on the first day of the visit, when French basketball icon Tony Parker was unveiled as Paris 2024’s education ambassador in front of local schoolchildren. The excitement amongst the young basketballers was visible in their eyes and smiles, as they got to go head-to-head with their hero in one of France’s most iconic locations. Parker described his nomination as an honour, and said he was looking forward to his role as part of the Paris team.
As well as the Eiffel Tower, the Commission’s venue tour took in the sites of several Olympic and Paralympic venues, such as the Stade de France, the Grand Palais, the Champs-Élysées and the Champs de Mars. These world-famous locations in the French capital showed the magnificent backdrop that awaits athletes and fans in 2024, as well as the opportunity for sports to present themselves in the best possible way.
“The IOC’s visit to Paris for these two days of work has allowed us to share our ambition: to make Games that are different, cheaper, useful and spectacular, which will write a chapter in our country’s history and more generally that of the Olympic Movement,” said Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet. “The partnership with the IOC and all of Paris 2024’s partners will be key in implementing and building the success of these Games of a new era.”
The ambition for the Paris Games was also underlined by the efforts of the Organising Committee and the local authorities to help with local development in areas like employment and legacy. Beyond the 4,000 staff that Paris 2024 will recruit directly between now and the Games, the city of Paris has organised a meeting attended by 300 local employers with a view to helping them prepare for the potential jobs that could be created by the Games, while the Ile-de-France region has outlined 18 commitments that it will deliver on in areas such as the training of volunteers and transport.
Lancement officiel de la 1ere commission de coordination #Paris2024 avec le CIO et l'ensemble de nos partenaires pour construire ensemble les Jeux d'une nouvelle ère : moins chers, plus utiles, spectaculaires pic.twitter.com/9B4tchppjh— Paris 2024 (@Paris2024) June 19, 2018
The Organising Committee reported on new opportunities regarding venue use, including a proposal for the Aquatic Centre, which will remain a permanent facility but with a redefined concept to ensure cost efficiency and improved legacy. This means that the region of Seine-Saint-Denis will now receive nine swimming pools after the Games rather than the five initially planned - this in an area where there is a significant shortage of community sports facilities, and where only half of children leave primary school able to swim.
Meanwhile, the Olympic Village will remain in its originally planned location, adding enhanced value for local residents with benefits such as the undergrounding of power lines; new housing; the creation of new green spaces; and the building of an anti-noise wall.
The decisions for these facilities are also part of Paris 2024’s dedication to controlling the basics of delivering a project of this scale. They come off the back of Paris 2024 signing a joint funding protocol for the Games with the French State and the City of Paris, which puts legacy at the forefront of all projects, as well as optimising plans to maximise the experience of all Olympic stakeholders. The protocol, signed last week, guarantees that the budget for Games-related infrastructure will be maintained at the candidature level of approximately EUR 1.4 billion.
Paris 2024 has also acted quickly to make significant progress towards recruiting some of France’s top talent to its staff, with the new recruits introduced to the Commission over the two days. Following in the footsteps of Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet and CEO Etienne Thobois, the appointment of Olympians and athletes to key positions, like Martin Fourcade as Chair of the Athletes’ Commission and Jean-Philippe Gatien as Sports Director, is a strong indicator that these Games will be athlete-focused and delivered in a highly professional manner.
The Organising Committee also presented to the IOC on its impressive progress made on governance topics, communication plans, event delivery, the Paralympic Games project and marketing activities.
Reinforcing the spirit of collaboration and co-construction, members of the Los Angeles Organising Committee also joined the meetings to learn alongside Paris 2024 about how the Olympic Games are being re-imagined.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.4 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
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