By Rob Fawdon, Paris, March 16, 2016: The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games Bid Committee has today announced Wrestler Koumba Larroque (age 17) and Decathlete Ludovic Besson (age 18) as the newest members its Athletes’ Committee after they were elected by their fellow athletes.
Both Larroque and Besson competed at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games and are from ‘Generation 2024’, a generation of young French athletes who could compete at their home Games if Paris wins the right to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024.
The Paris 2024 Athletes’ Committee now has 24 members including several Olympic and World Champions, such as Laura Flessel, Brahim Asloum, Florian Rousseau, Thierry Omeyer, Sébastien Flute, Gwladys Epangue, Michael Jérémiasz, Marie Bochet and Stéphane Diagana. Since its inception, the Committee has played a key role in driving the bid forward and mobilising the sports community across Paris and France as part of the ambition to deliver an Olympic and Paralympic Games for the athletes, by the athletes.
Co-chaired by Paralympic Champion in Athletics, Marie-Amélie Le Fur, and Judo Olympic Champion, Teddy Riner, the Athletes’ Committee will meet regularly (the next time in May) through to the IOC Session in Lima, Peru in 2017 where the Host City announcement for the 2024 Games will be made.
Tony Estanguet, Paris 2024 Co-Chair, triple Olympic Gold Medallist and four-time Olympian, and Jean-Phillipe Gatien, bid Sports Director and two-time Olympic Medallist in Table Tennis, will also make significant contributions to meetings and workshops which will focus on:
Further mobilization and activation of athletes across Paris and France
Consultation on the technical elements related to the proposed Paris 2024 venues and overall Games project
Welcoming the two new members of the Athletes’ Committee, Tony Estanguet has also paid tribute to the key role athletes have played in the bid for more than two years through the High Level Athletes Committee (FSNOC) and for the last six months as part of the Athletes’ Committee.
These Committees have been closely involved in part one of the Paris 2024 Candidature File which outlined the bid’s Vision, Games Concept and Strategy. Submitted to the IOC in February, the Candidature File highlighted Paris’ highly compact concept, placing Olympians at the heart of the action. Athletes from the Executive Board have been at the forefront of the Paris 2024 bid with clearly defined, decision-making roles since the early consultation phase – playing a key role in the proposed venues and the Athletes’ Village.
Athletes have also had a strong presence at major bid events with more than 150 athletes in attendance at the launch of the bid in June 2015 and more than 300 present at the unveiling of the bid vision and concept at the Philharmonie de Paris last month. Their activity on social media has also been far-reaching, particularly during the Paris 2024 logo launch at the Arc de Triomphe in early February.
Athletes will continue to have an important role in the bid going forward, playing a vital part in the Paris 2024 Observer Programme at Rio 2016 where the bid will listen and learn from the Organising Committee in a live Games scenario. Paris 2024 is also in the process of developing a mobile application which will allow athletes to communicate with the bid, making it easier than ever for them to contribute their insights, ideas and suggestions as the project continues to evolve.
Speaking about the new Athletes’ Committee members and the key role athletes are playing in the bid, Tony Estanguet, said:
“We’re delighted to welcome Koumba Larroque and Ludovic Besson as the newest members of the Paris 2024 Athletes’ Committee. It was crucial for us to bring together different generations of athletes to play a key role in the bid and we now have a diverse mix of great Olympians, current athletes and young champions who are driving the project forward.
“Athletes are the heart and soul of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and this is why we want them to be the architects of the Paris 2024 bid – they know what it takes to compete at the highest level on the greatest sporting stage. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the athletes that have played such a major part in the Paris bid from day one.
“In the coming weeks and months the role of the athletes in the bid will continue to grow and develop as we prepare for the Rio 2016 Observer Programme where we will watch, listen, learn and continue to shape the Paris 2024 vision. We’re also very excited about the new mobile app under development that will allow athletes across France to engage with the bid and share their unique insights.
“We are very proud of the integral role played by our athlete community throughout this bid so far and we will continue to harness their energy and enthusiasm as we continue in our ambition to deliver an Olympic and Paralympic Games for the athletes, by the athletes.”