The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron received on Monday, September 13 the Olympic and Paralympic medalists from Tokyo to “celebrate” and “prepare” the Paris 2024 Olympics, Games “at home” where it will be necessary to “do much more” in term of medals.
In front of the audience of medalists, ministers, but also some political opponents (Valérie Pécresse, president of the Île-de-France region, and Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris), the President of the Republic launched into a comprehensive speech . On the program: a chronicle of the Games, some feedback on certain medals (those in judo, fencing, team sports, etc.), and above all a desire to look to Paris 2024, summarized as follows: “Enjoy your medals, but not too much, because it we must already prepare for 2024 “.
The president acknowledged: “the results are not quite what we expected,” he said, less than three years before the Paris 2024 Games. The French team has indeed remained in Tokyo below its objectives and standards with 33 medals after 42 in Rio.
“The success of the Games will be the success of our athletes because it works like that”, he insisted Monday evening in front of the sportsmen and the leaders of the French sport, before decorating the sportsmen of the Legion of honor or of the national order of merit.
Triple Olympic champion, the judoka Teddy Riner, regular of the place – he comes for the “fourth time” – explained when arriving at the ceremony that it was always a “great honor” and “a great pride”. Asked about Emmanuel Macron’s promise to make France a “sporting nation” for the Paris 2024 Olympics, the judoka replied: “France is a great sporting nation, but to think that we are going to win 90 medals at Paris 2024, no. You have to do a lot more to claim 90 medalists in three years.
Emmanuel Macron promises “a massive plan for sports equipment”
“I will announce in the coming weeks a massive plan for local sports facilities”, said the President of the Republic, in the hall of the Elysée Palace in front of more than a hundred medalists from Tokyo and the leaders of the high-level French sport. “This plan will be unique not only in its scope but in its spirit, we will invent new ways of financing and using these places,” he promised. And to quote “several thousand basketball courts”, “dojos”, “skate parks”, “swimming pools”.
The National Sports Agency (ANS), financed by appropriations from the Ministry of Sports, which brings together the State, local authorities, the sports movement and business representatives, already subsidizes construction projects or equipment renovations. .
Emmanuel Macron also mentioned a new device, without going into detail, of “rope of sport” on the model of “rope of success” to promote athletes. “We will not fail you either on the high level or on sport in general”, he assured, in order to “consolidate France as a sporting nation”.
In passing, he also returned to the summer pass of arms between Jean-Michel Blanquer, Minister of Sports, and certain athletes. The minister saw in the success of French team sports at the Tokyo Olympics a success of Physical and Sports Education (EPS), attracting criticism from some champions. “We do not train a future champion at school, but we can give birth to vocations”, launched the head of state.
The purpose of the ceremony was indeed to award an additional medal to the tricolor champions of the summer: the legion of honor for the gold medals, the national order of merit for the silver and bronze. To do this, you had to go to the Elysée village hall, which opened onto the gardens where the athletes’ relatives were waiting on the palace terrace.
Legion of Honor for Gold and National Order of Merit for Silver and Bronze
Under the lights of the Republic’s splendor, the athletes listened wisely to the presidential speech. Then came the long-awaited moment – in every sense of the word -: the presentation of the decorations. To the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, to the Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports, Jean-Michel Blanquer, and Roxana Maracineanu, the Minister Delegate in charge of Sports, the national order of merit to the silver medalists and bronze. To the President of the Republic the Legion of Honor, for a sequence without scratching the slightest name.
The ceremony ended with a light hubbub and an avalanche of selfies, before the group photo under the gold-colored chandeliers. With their new charm on their chest, the athletes headed for the Elysée terrace to savor the moment. But not too much, because Paris 2024 is three years away. In other words, tomorrow return to training.