“The Olympic Games are expensive, why bother? » Brief counter, France, July 2023? In fact, already, Paris… 1924! As if, in each episode, we were tempted to rear up in front of the obstacle. As if we refused to savor with a little simplicity the happiness of sport, the encounter between nations or the pride of medals. In 1924, before being plunged into the heart of the event, public opinion at the time also had difficulty in perceiving the need to organize the Games, and the French Olympic Committee even wanted to throw in the towel. Finally, carried by Pierre de Coubertin in person, the Olympic Games ended up taking the capital on board: these were legendary Games, as Benjamin Bousquet tells us. With medalists like American Johnny Weissmuller in swimming or Frenchman Roger Ducret in fencing, and figures like tennis player Richard Norris Williams, survivor of the sinking of the Titanic.
The Paris 2024 Games “will be the Games for all French people”, promises Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. The Minister of Sports, guest of our Conversation, knows the fears and the questions. But she is convinced that the Olympics effect will eventually prevail, as in 1924, or in 2012, in London. Because despite criticism of the cost of the organization and the price of tickets, the 200,000 applications received for the 45,000 open volunteer positions testify to a certain enthusiasm. A majority of the population knows that few occasions offer, like sport, these moments of shared joy, simple, fleeting but intense. Don’t the incredible crowds of the Tour de France clearly illustrate this?
” The important thing is to participate ” ? As for the athletes, let us dare to challenge Pierre de Coubertin’s formula. No: the main thing is also to give the best of yourself, to surpass yourself, to win gold, silver or bronze. But this formula, let’s take it up on our own to express a hope on the part of the public. The main thing in 2024 will be to allow everyone to take part in the celebration. Athletes, volunteers, communities crossed by the Olympic flame, spectators and television viewers: we all want to be part of the Olympic promise.