For a few weeks now they have dared to dream, but the athletes know all too well that nothing can be taken for granted. But how good did it feel to get the news? The 2024 Summer Olympics will be held in Paris! We won! Pascal Gentil, taekwondo world champion and representative of the Paris 2024 committee gives us the honour of an Olympic encounter.
Competing to host the Olympics is a challenge in a league of its own. If it was an Olympic sport? Rowing, Pascal answers without a moment’s thought. “It’s a very intense sport, a team sport, and universally accessible. For our bid, we all pulled together, rowing in the same direction until we met with success on 13 September”. Bringing the Olympics to Paris is a statement of unity, cohesion, and a collective effort. “Were proved able to have our wonderful plans accepted by everyone. Public partners, social partners, NGO, businesses: despite our differences, we all shared the same dream, spread the same message, and focused on the same goal.”
France was able to persuade the IOC that it was ready to welcome the world and its athletes. But the biggest challenge still lies ahead. “We are sportsmen”, emphasises the taekwondo champion, “We want to win”. And we do, too! As such, France is setting out to deliver winning performance across the board: “During the opening ceremony the entire world will be watching us, but it’s also about how we welcome our guests, athletes and spectators alike, how we stay on budget and, we hope, how our young athletes perform...” There’s nothing better than a big ambitions like that!”
100 years later, Paris will once again be the Olympic capital for one summer. More than just a fitting nod to history, Pascal Gentil sees it as a sign for future generations, already renamed “Generation 2024”. “It’s a sign that the Olympic values – excellence, friendship, and respect – still exist today”.