With fewer than 300 days to go until this global event is held in France, the IOC is confident about the overall organisation carried out by the Paris 2024 Olympic committee. Security, transport, legacy, and responsibility are the key areas of focus to ensure that these Games of a new era deliver on all their promises.
Meeting with Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, Chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission for Paris 2024.
Interview by Mélanie Bénard-Crozat
Confidence affirmed by the IOC
Our visit to France in the summer was very positive. The Paris 2024 Organising Committee is right where it should be. We have every confidence in the host country to deliver on its commitments.
Throughout the preparation campaign over the last six years, the vision of Paris 2024 has remained intact, committed to the creation of the Marathon For All. In addition, the innovative opening ceremony on the Seine represents one of the highlights of the 2024 Games. By taking place in the city, the ceremony embodies the desire for openness, accessibility to the public, and inclusion that we hold so dear. We hope that the ceremony will be a great popular celebration.
This extraordinary dimension also implies heightened security, adapted to the constraints of a posture outside the stadium, resolutely turned toward the population. This is exactly what the French authorities have committed themselves to. I would also like to pay tribute to the involvement of all stakeholders in the strategic area of security as well as transport.
Physical and digital security are the responsibility of the host country, but cooperation is vital. For the past six years, we have therefore been sharing with the organisers of Paris 2024, the DIJOP and the Préfecture de Police de Paris the experience we have gained over the years. The dialogue is ongoing, the challenges are considerable and the geopolitical context is tense. But our work is based on anticipation, and these elements are not new. Past editions of the Olympic Games have always been marked by complex events: economic crises, conflicts, health crises, and so on. These have been considered and are monitored in real time. Recent events have not altered our perception of risks, which have already been assessed at the highest level. The safety measures on the agenda can ensure the safety of the event and its participants and are designed to be agile enough to react to any necessary changes. There are still a few months to go before the start of the event. We are and will remain agile and vigilant, but we are confident about the measures taken and the resources mobilised. The latest statements by the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, following the closing of Rugby World Cup 2023 are also likely to reinforce this confidence.
We’re seeing very strong popular enthusiasm and a lot of excitement around these unique 2024 Games. With almost 7 million tickets sold, ticketing is a great success, whereas the previous editions in Tokyo and Beijing were held without an audience. A total of 300,000 applications from 190 countries were received to join the volunteer programme and be among the lucky 40,000 selected. Local authorities were also strongly mobilised, with almost 4,000 awarded the « Terre de Jeux 2024 » label. More than 4 million enthusiasts have signed up to the Paris 2024 Club, and the latest polls testify to the positive reception of the Games – with more than 70% of French people positively supporting the hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in their country.
Games of a new era and legacy
In 2024, Paris will deliver the Games of a new era – Games that will demonstrate the power of sport and solidarity and the impact of the event on young people and society as a whole. They represent an inflection point in the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games and will be a model not only for future Games but also for other major events. Paris 2024’s ambitious and innovative approach to inclusion, optimization and sustainability responds to the IOC’s demands for reform recommended by the Olympic Agenda 2020, Agenda 2020+5 and the New Standard.
These Games are intended to be more responsible, more sustainable, more inclusive, more useful and more urban. Greater inclusivity strives for perfect equality between men and women and means opening the Games so that everyone can participate without necessarily having a ticket, for example, to the Marathon For All. More urban, as Paris 2024 brings the Olympic experience in the heart of the city, in emblematic locations, and with an above public involvement than previous editions.
Greater responsibility means operating with a budget lower than that of previous editions despite inflation. The IOC has also reviewed certain requirements and constraints that it has traditionally imposed on the host city.
Paris 2024 was created with a view to building a small number of venues, and those designed specifically for the Games are consistent with the legacy desired by all stakeholders. I’m thinking in particular of the aquatic centre in Seine-Saint-Denis, for example, which is accompanied by an essential dynamic around sport: to drastically reduce the 50% rate of 11-year-olds who couldn’t swim in this département in 2017/2018.
This gives the game a useful character – a visible, tangible and long-lasting legacy.
Sustainability is also reflected in the more sober budget for this 2024 edition as well as in the actions undertaken by the national organising committee in favour of the environment. These actions include the reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions by half, which represents more than 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 less than for previous editions. We will be using 100% renewable energy, and 92% of all materials dismantled will be recycled.
The legacy is also materialised through numerous projects, including the Olympic and Paralympic School Week – which mobilised more than a million children in 2023 – and the promotion of sporting activities through the 30 minutes of daily activity initiative. From an economic point of view, almost 3/4 of the 2,000 service providers involved with Paris 2024 are small and medium-sized businesses, including around 200 from the social economy. In addition, the establishment of the « Impact 2024 » endowment fund with a social purpose has so far benefited more than 1,000 projects across the country, reaching over 3 million people.
Finally, the Games represent the mobilisation of some 180,000 jobs, and the economic outlook for France is in the region of 8 billion euros. This legacy will be reflected in the Los Angeles 2028 Games, with which there are regular exchanges and sharing of experience. This continuity is important, and the United States intends to be part of this dimension of sustainability, inclusion and responsible budgeting.
A message of peace and solidarity
With D-Day only a few months away, tensions are set to increase. In this phase of acceleration, the work of co-construction and cooperation will show its full importance. Every day will count until July 26, 2024. With the help of all those who have committed and mobilised in favour of this project, we have every confidence in France’s ability to give its best and keep its promises on the world stage in 2024.
To all those who will take part in these Games in whatever way, I hope that they will instil the values of Olympism: a wave of peace, solidarity and respect throughout the world.