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Olympic and Paralympic Week is here!

Olympic and Paralympic Week is here!

This week, sport, its values and its benefits will take centre stage in schools, educational establishments and universities across France, as part of Olympic and Paralympic Week, the third edition of which was launched today at Dora Maar Secondary School in Seine-Saint-Denis, in northern Paris. In total, more than 1,000 projects will be run over the course of the week.

The third edition of Olympic and Paralympic Week (Semaine Olympique et Paralympique, SOP) was officially launched at Dora Maar Secondary School in Saint-Denis this morning.

Running until 9 February, Olympic and Paralympic Week is taking place in educational establishments across France, from nursery schools to universities. Supported by the French Ministry of Education and the sports movement, it is a key event in Paris 2024’s educational programme, which seeks to promote education through sport and put civic and sporting values at the heart of learning.

Dora Maar Secondary School was chosen for the launch because of its close proximity to the future Paris 2024 Athletes’ Village. Attending the event were Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet; Jean-Michel Blanquer, French Minister for Education and Youth Affairs; Roxana Maracineanu, French Minister for Sport; Sophie Cluzel, French State Secretary in charge of Persons with Disabilities.

Daniel Narcisse (handball), Sarah Ourahmoune (boxing), Thierry Omeyer (handball), Arnaud Assoumani (para athletics), Astrid Guyart (fencing) and Charles Rozoy (para swimming) were among the athletes taking part in French, History, Geography and English lessons in which sport was used as an educational tool. After speaking to students about the values of sport, particularly diversity and the need to be more active – the two core themes of the 2019 SOP – the athletes took part in sporting activities involving handball, table tennis, boxing and football, joined by Aminata Diallo (football), Katarrzyna Kiedrzynek (football) and Viknesh Anbarasan (blind football).


Representing France’s talented “Generation 2024” of athletes were 14-year-old up-and-coming table tennis player Prithika Pavade, a registered player in the Saint-Denis area, and 17-year-old boxer Tallya Brillaux, a silver medallist in the women’s 69-75kg category at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games. After sharing their experiences as young athletes with the students, they respectively pitted their skills against Olympic medallists Jean-Philippe Gatien and Sarah Ourahmoune.

“Olympic and Paralympic Week is a key annual event in Paris 2024’s educational programme,” explained Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet. “Every year it shines the spotlight on the positive impact that sport can have, beyond the staging of the Games, by using it and its benefits and values as a driving force for change. We believe in the power of sport. We believe sport has a contribution to make to a more active, more inclusive and outward-looking society. School is a vital place for passing on these values and for promoting positive behaviour in children from a very young age.”

Generation 2024 and the Paris 2024 educational programme

The launch also saw Jean-Michel Blanquer and Roxana Maracineanu present Dora Maar Secondary School with an official “Generation 2024” certification in recognition of its actions and initiatives in encouraging young people to take up sport.

Since its creation in 2018, the “Generation 2024” certification has been awarded to nearly 1,000 educational establishments across the country and recognises schools that make sport a focal point of their educational projects by:
- Running structural projects in conjunction with sports clubs and the country as a whole
- Taking part in SOP, National School Sports Day and Olympic Day (held on 23 June every year)
- Welcoming and supporting elite athletes
- Allowing others to use their sports facilities

Dora Maar Secondary School was decked out in the colours of Paris 2024 and sport especially for the occasion. A mural by street artist Franck Pellegrino, bearing the words “Generation 2024” and featuring abstract representations of various Olympic and Paralympic Games disciplines, now adorns a wall at the school on a permanent basis, while the school is also equipped with 50 bike desks, which aid learning and combat the sedentary lifestyle.

What is Olympic and Paralympic Week?
Olympic and Paralympic Week is an annual initiative designed to promote sport among young people and rally the educational community around civic and sporting values. Since 2017, it has been part of the national Ministry of Education syllabus, which was set up during the bid phase. SOP is being rolled out to every school, educational establishment and higher education institution in mainland France and its overseas territories at all age levels, from nursery school through to university.

It is a week in which school time is split between general education, with sport being used for educational purposes, and physical and sporting activities. SOP aims to:
- Raise the students’ awareness about the values of Olympism and Paralympism
- Encourage youngsters to take up sport and become more physically active
- Use sport as an educational and recreational tool

- Introduce students to Olympic and Paralympic disciplines in collaboration with the sports movement
- Change the way youngsters view disability
- Encourage youngsters to take up voluntary activities and be civic-minded

A thousand projects across France
Nearly 1,000 schools are planning to take part in the third Olympic and Paralympic Week in France (compared to 500 in 2018) and abroad, thanks to the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE).

Throughout the week, around 100 athletes will be dropping in at schools and educational establishments to share the values of Olympism and Paralympism, their passion for sport, and, most importantly of all, to explain how sport can improve health and well-being. Among them will be:
- Clarisse Agbegnenou (judo), who will be visiting Michelet State School in Asnières;
- Emilie Gomis (basketball), M. Marchand Primary School in Evreux;
- Jérôme Fernandez (handball), L’Estaque College in Marseille;
- Nantenin Keita (para athletics), La Lune Verte School in Berric;
- Alain Bernard (swimming), Camp Major School in Aubagne.

Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet will visit six schools during the course of the week, travelling from Saint-Denis to Nice and stopping off in Créteil, Bessancourt and Pau along the way.

A number of other athletes have announced on social media that they will be visiting the schools they once attended in the coming weeks, such as Martin Fourcade, Tony Parker, Marie Bochet and Julien Benneteau.

Jean-Michel Blanquer, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs: “Sport embodies some wonderful values: the desire to surpass oneself, team spirit, and respect for others and for oneself. These are also the values projected by the state education system.”

Roxana Maracineanu, Minister for Sport: “The inspirational impact that the staging of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games is having on an entire generation of French people should enable us to instil a genuine sporting culture in our fellow citizens. It is essential that we step up our efforts to make sport and motor skills an essential part of education and to consolidate the place they occupy in it, from nursery school through to university. I am convinced that it will make our young people a healthier, more rounded and more socially engaged generation, one that is also more receptive to learning. Sport teaches tolerance, integration, respect for diversity and rules, and instils a culture of progress. It is also a valuable educational tool in terms of science and history. Olympic and Paralympic Week is an important step on this path because it celebrates the values of sport, a useful contributor to the common good that it is our responsibility to share with our country’s youth.”

Sophie Cluzel, State Secretary in charge of Persons with Disabilities : “During the course of this Olympic and Paralympic Week, which gets underway today at Dora Maar Secondary School, I am hoping to see both able-bodied and disabled students discover the sheer range of sports that are out there and to find a sport that they want to play. It is up to the sporting movement to swing into action and develop disability and adaptive sport at clubs. Sport offers a wonderful opportunity for our society to change and become more tolerant and open to others. It is a vehicle for fulfilment, empowerment, and for meeting others, especially when disabled and able-bodied athletes can excel themselves as one and nurture their sense of community, performance and togetherness.”