Olympic Games: goodbye Tokyo, hello Paris 2024!



On the Japanese night, the closing was nostalgic, Sunday August 8, with the handover ceremony between two women, the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo – a first in Olympic history.

It was festive 9,800 km to the west, at the beginning of the afternoon in Paris, with this famous banner of half a hectare deployed on the Eiffel Tower shivering as the patrouille de France passed. Quite a symbol, which will find its practical variation Monday 9, around 2 p.m. at Roissy, when the door of the plane bringing back Anne Hidalgo and the flag will open.

A new story will then begin, 1,082 days before the lighting of a new cauldron in the French capital, on July 26, 2024. It has been written line after line since September 13, 2017, the day of the attribution of the thirtieth Games , one hundred years after the seventh also organized in Paris in 1924.

Since then, the main people responsible for the file, the president of the organizing committee Tony Estanguet, Anne Hidalgo and Jean Castex, government coordinator of Paris 2024 before being appointed to Matignon, have crumpled up a lot of drafts. Under the sponsorship of Emmanuel Macron who collected the Olympic laurels planted by his predecessor François Hollande.

Opening ceremony on the banks of the Seine

Present in Tokyo during the first two days of the Games, the Head of State has eaten the secrecy instructions on one of the most anticipated files of Paris-2024, the site of the opening ceremony which will not take place at Stade de France for a few tens of thousands of privileged ticket holders, but in the heart of the city, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

The place is not stopped ”, assured Tony Estanguet to The cross, in a declaration intended to spare the susceptibility of the Olympic authorities, who will have to validate the project in December 2021. But the decision is taken; Anne Hidalgo has also reconfirmed Sunday 8 in The team.

→ ANALYSIS. Tokyo Olympics: for the Blues, the account is not so good

Once the flame is lit, all eyes will be on … the Concorde, where some of the most anticipated competitions of the 32 disciplines on the program will be held: skateboarding, 3 × 3 basketball, integrated in Tokyo and maintained in Paris, but also breaking, a new sport resulting from urban culture, which will make its entry into the Parisian program. These disciplines are supposed to bring young people back to a ring party that they had neglected for the past two decades.

“It’s strategic for the future. The younger generations want to see sports that are like them, with short and spectacular competitions that they can follow on their smartphone. The IOC understood this well and Paris 2024 too ”, underlines Kevin Bernardi, owner of the Sport & Society site, at the forefront of the sociology of sport.

Equipment for Seine Saint-Denis

Celebrated in Tokyo, the marriage of tradition and modernity will therefore be confirmed in Paris. “The magic of the Games is based on this diversity of events and these sports bring something new”, Tony Estanguet told us in Tokyo, just after visiting the climbing site, a sport which, in 2024, will not be presented at Concorde but at Le Bourget. In fact, the Paris Games will not only be those of the beautiful neighborhoods and historic sites of the City of Light or its region.

Their hearts will beat widely in Seine-Saint-Denis. In addition to the climbing wall, the “93” will host two of the main facilities designed for the Games, which will remain there as a legacy: the Olympic village and the Aubervilliers swimming pool (the department did not have a 50 m Olympic pool).

→ READ. Seine-Saint-Denis still hopes to benefit from the 2024 Olympics

The Arena, a new hall built at Porte de la Chapelle, will link the popular north of Paris so far without large sports (and show) venues and Seine-Saint-Denis. “On the construction side, that’s about all”, explains Tony Estanguet, satisfied that this architectural moderation serves a 2024 carbon footprint more favorable than that of Tokyo or the previous Games.

If Anne Hidalgo adheres to this ecological objective, she also underlines the benefits of the Games for employment. “Thousands of workers have already worked on the sites, they will be nearly 10,000 in the fall, 150,000 direct jobs will be mobilized for the organization of the Games in tourism, catering and security”, underlines the elected.

Paris 2024 twice cheaper than Tokyo

On the budgetary level, Paris is doomed to do better than London, Rio or Tokyo. It will not be difficult, because the 13 billion euros from Tokyo, increased by 2 billion additional costs linked to the pandemic, have appeared as a scarecrow with the Court of Auditors, which has again tightened the screws of Paris 2024. The Organizing Committee’s financiers were recently summoned to find an additional 400 million euros, which has led to a new version of the site map – which, this time, seems final.

Unless a new tile is still possible in terms of health or safety, Paris 2024 should remain in an envelope twice as light as Tokyo. We are counting on 7.3 billion euros, of which 3.4 billion (1) invested in long-lasting equipment such as the swimming pool, or the Olympic village recycled into housing after 2024.

The other part, 3.9 billion euros of private operating budget, comes from TV rights, ticketing, an endowment from the IOC. And sponsors, more and more numerous to come to the counter as the deadline approaches, history, as for Decathlon (last partner to date to be committed), to participate in the celebration.

“We saw it clearly in Tokyo, despite the pandemic, the risks linked to the postponement, the unpopularity at the beginning, the Games are ending well, as always or almost, concludes Tony Estanguet, we will still have problems, but what matters is partying and sport, our legacy will be to leave France a little sportier and it needs it. “

First small step from the start of the September 2021 school year, with the gradual entry into force, under the impetus of Paris 2024, of thirty minutes of compulsory physical exercise in primary schools to fight against children’s sedentary lifestyle.

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