By Robert Fawdon, Paris Sept 14, 2016: To celebrate the annual National Day of Sport in France and to further mark one year to go the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games Host City decision, athletes and school children have gathered today to celebrate the launch of the ‘Year of Olympism’ – an initiative that will be activated in all educational institutions in France, from primary schools to universities.
Paris 2024 has partnered with the French Ministry of Education and the French National Olympic Committee [NOC] to launch the unique project that supports the bid’s ambition to return Olympism to the heart of society and make it central to the lives citizens.
The ‘Year of Olympism’ will be rolled out across the upcoming school year with a focus on raising the awareness and sharing the values of Olympism and driving participation in sport among young people. The project will also include fun activities for younger age groups as well as educational tools relating to the history of the Olympics and Olympism and the Paris 2024 bid.
Rio 2016 Silver Medallist in Modern Pentathlon, Elodie Clouvel, will be the official athlete ambassador for the programme. Clouvel was joined at today’s launch by Rio 2016 Olympic Gold Medallist in Rowing, Pierre Houin; Rio 2016 Silver Medallist in Boxing, Sarah Ourahmoune; Rio 2016 Olympian in Modern Pentathlon, Valentin Belaud; Rio 2016 Olympian in Handball, Blandine Dancette; and Rio 2016 Olympian in Rugby Sevens, Terry Bouhraoua.
Paris 2024 Co-Chairman and triple Olympic Champion, Tony Estanguet, represented the bid at the launch which was carried out by Minister of Education, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem; Minister for Urban Affairs, Youth and Sport, Patrick Kanner; Secretary of State for Sport, Thierry Braillard; and NOC President, Denis Masseglia.
The event took place at the National Olympic Committee headquarters in Paris in the presence of 200 school children who also took part in a consultation meeting with the athletes and the sports and political leaders. To celebrate the launch of the project, members of the Paris 2024 team will also lead sports activities in schools across the country throughout today.
Paris 2024 Co-Chairman, Tony Estanguet, said:
“Via a Paris 2024 Games, we have a unique opportunity to return Olympism to the heart of Paris and France and make it central to the lives of our citizens – reflecting a key goal of Agenda 2020. As we celebrate one year to go to the Host City decision in Lima, this fantastic initiative that will enable young people to learn more about Olympic history and play more school sport works in perfect harmony with this goal and the strategy that underpins our bid.”
“Seeing so many young people celebrate sport and Olympism today gives us a great boost as we head into the final year of the campaign.”
Paris 2024 Co-Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said:
“Paris and France has Olympism in its DNA and we are committed to sharing further the spirit of Olympism in the city where Pierre de Coubertin first imagined a better world through sport. Paris is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city with a famous heritage rooted in Olympism – it is important that young people are taught about this heritage to ensure that it lives on and thrives in our society.
“As we enter the final year of the bid campaign, we are excited by the opportunities that lie ahead and we take strength in the incredible support we are receiving from young people, athletes and the many citizens we are meeting daily across Paris and France.”
Rio 2016 Silver Medallist and ‘Year of Olympism’ ambassador, Elodie Clouvel, said:
“I am delighted to be involved in this fantastic initiative that will help to spread the values of Olympism throughout all educational institutions across France. Winning an Olympic medal is a magical feeling and I hope we can inspire many young children to pursue and achieve their Olympic dreams.
“Athletes are the heartbeat of the Games and it is an honour to be here with my fellow Olympians to drive this bid forward and spread the important messages of inclusivity, respect, fair play and friendship among our Olympic stars of the future.”