Paris 2024 confirms readiness to take the baton from Tokyo
Led by its President Tony Estanguet, the Paris 2024 delegation outlined key project updates at the 138th IOC Session in Tokyo. The organising committee presented a project report, highlighting steps taken to further strengthen the Games plan
Tony Estanguet, the Paris 2024 President, presented a comprehensive progress report on the Paris 2024 project at the 138th IOC Session, which took place today in Tokyo ahead of the 2020 Games.
The French delegation* took the opportunity to congratulate their Japanese counterparts for demonstrating extraordinary resilience and adaptability in the face of the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. They also emphasised Paris 2024’s readiness and excitement to take the baton from Tokyo. Despite the pandemic, Paris 2024 has successfully bolstered its fundamentals in every area, generating increasing momentum to further enhance engagement and leave a lasting legacy – a drive that the Tokyo Games will only serve to amplify.
Tony Estanguet, Paris 2024 President, said: “We are building on extremely solid foundations and everything is on schedule. The pandemic has required us to challenge, constantly adapt and reinvent ourselves, but as a result, our project is even stronger today than it was 18 months ago. We have again stepped up the efficiency of our venue map while maintaining all the iconic locations. Construction work is set to start soon, on schedule with the initial timeline. We have secured more than €600 million through partnerships and our budget is well balanced. We’re now very excited for the Tokyo Games to get underway, and to see the athletes and sport take centre stage during these difficult times we are living in.”
Key components in organising an even stronger Games
• Partners attracted by the Paris 2024 project
Paris 2024 has recently announced new partnerships with Sanofi, PwC and sports equipment retailer Décathlon, taking the number of partners up to 11. Having already secured over €600 million, Paris is on track to hit its targets and aims to account for two thirds of its partnership budget by the end of 2021.
• Work on schedule despite Covid-19
Coordinated by SOLIDEO, the body tasked with delivering the Olympic facilities, construction of the Athletes’ and Media villages as well as the Aquatics Centre will start on schedule this summer, unaffected by the pandemic, following the preparatory work conducted on time and as planned. The Champ de Mars Arena (currently known as the temporary Grand Palais), which was built in record time at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, was delivered last June and has already been dubbed a remarkable feat of architecture.
• Major milestones hit
The organisation of key elements of the Games have been agreed in recent months – including accommodation, where nearly 50,000 rooms have been booked at a preferential rate; security, where an agreement has been signed with the French State explicitly defining the scope and responsibilities of everyone involved; and catering, where a service provider has been chosen to serve over two million meals in the Athletes’ Village. Progress in these key operational areas significantly strengthen the overall delivery of the project.
• Close collaboration with international sports federations
The International Sports Federations are key partners in delivering the sporting events, which is why we have worked closely with them on the various elements for their respective sports at the Paris 2024 Games, such as training venues and competition schedule. They have also been working closely with the IOC in putting together the sporting programme for the Paris 2024 Games which is fully gender balanced for the first time in the history of the Games. Both the sporting programme and venue map were approved by the IOC Executive Board in December 2020.
• Carbon footprint cut in half
Since the bidding phase, Paris 2024 has sought to anticipate the impact of its project on the climate and the environment as well as identify every possible solution to reduce the footprint of the Games at source and across the entire duration of the organisation. In particular, Paris 2024 will build very few new structures, making use of existing or temporary sites for 95% of the project needs, meaning that overall, the carbon footprint of the Paris Games will be half that of previous editions. Through its efforts, Paris 2024 wishes to set new standards for organising major events. It also stepped up its environmental ambitions at the start of the year, announcing it will offset more carbon emissions than it generates by supporting an additional offsetting programme in France.
A legacy already in action
Over and above safeguarding its fundamentals, which are essential to the success of the Games, Paris 2024 continues to make progress on its engagement and legacy programmes, which have risen up the list of priorities since the bidding phase.
The intense emotions and electrifying performances French athletes will no doubt display at the Tokyo Games will further boost engagement among the public back home, increasing backing for Paris 2024 up and down the country. The Terre de Jeux 2024 label offers proof of this buy-in, having already won over 2,048 local areas all throughout France, representing 26 million people. Furthermore, the Paris 2024 Club has signed up 142,000 members who dream of winning their spot in the first ever Games events open to the general public (to compete in the marathon and road cycling) to enjoy an experience unlike any other alongside the world’s greatest sporting champions.
In addition, “Live des Jeux” events will take place at the Trocadero at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and in around 20 host towns around France from 23 July to 8 August and from 2 to 5 September to enable people to come together and share the unique emotions of the Games. The closing ceremonies will stand out as highlight of these events, when the Olympic and Paralympic flags will be lowered and passed from Tokyo to Paris on 8 August and 5 September 2021.
Paris 2024 has already started to leave a lasting mark on the country and communities, as Tony Estanguet illustrated in his speech. After working with the French Minister of National Education, Youth and Sport, Jean-Michel Blanquer to introduce 30 minutes of exercise into the school day from next September in 30% of primary schools, Paris 2024 is also supporting a programme to teach children in the Seine-Saint-Denis area to swim by opening teaching pools in communities to help 2,000 children between the ages of 4 and 12 to learn this essential life skill.
More than ever, Paris 2024 is seeking to leverage sport to find solutions to major issues in society, be it in education, public health, social cohesion or changing attitudes around disability.
“We are here in Tokyo to learn from our Japanese friends and counterparts,” continued Tony Estanguet. “Observing operations here in Tokyo will enrich our understanding, enable us to gain precious time by building on the experience of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee in all areas of the organisation the pandemic hasn’t affected. We would like to thank Tokyo 2020 as well as the IOC for this opportunity to observe, listen and learn, side by side. Of course, we are also in Tokyo to take up the baton. In just a few days’ time, we will be the next host city for the Summer Olympic Games, which represents both an immense responsibility and an incredible source of pride.”