Why is Paris bidding to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games again? Why mobilize so much energy behind the organization of an event that will take place in seven years? How can Paris instill meaning to these Games and how can these Games help both the Olympic movement as well as French civil society?
I hear these questions in France and abroad constantly and, here, I wanted to give an answer.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games are the biggest events on the planet. They are a unique celebration that unites the world in all its diversity around positive and inspiring values. But the Games also go far beyond that. They have the ability to change societies by providing a message of sharing through sport.
I am a French entrepreneur who left my country for the United States at a time when the age of the internet was just beginning. For many years the distance allowed me to observe the technological upheavals at work in our societies. The sharing revolution, which has recently begun, has taken the world to new places, technologically and economically. In an ultra-connected world, everyone shares their life moments and feelings.
In 2017, sharing has become a common theme; an axis around which companies are organized. In developing countries, the social revolution is helping societies do things that they had never dreamed of before.
In 2017, this quotation from Abbé Pierre is even more poignant than ever: "The opposite of misery is not wealth, the opposite of misery is sharing."
This is what EPIC is all about. EPIC is the foundation I have been running for almost three years, seeking out the best charities supporting children and youth around the world. By leveraging the power of consumer technology, EPIC helps to improve the lives of the next generation of global leadership.
Paris 2024 wants to develop a more solid, more sustainable, more inclusive world and is committed to helping France’s future generations. This Paris 2024 bid, designed by athletes and directed by Tony Estanguet and Bernard Lapasset, is a message from France to the people of the world. It is a message of hope and unity, aiming to inspire people to come together. For the first time, shared social issues are at the heart of a bid.
The Games are not just about 40 World Championships. They are 15,000 athletes, 80,000 volunteers and 206 countries. They are a tremendous vehicle for inclusion, a catalyst to break down the barriers in society.
As far as education is concerned, the Sport and Society Committee of Paris 2024, which I chair and which brings civil society figures together, has already begun to take action.
By sharing talents from different backgrounds, we have already been able to put new initiatives in motion, based on the Paris 2024 bid. We have created an Olympic and Paralympic week at schools, which will take place every year and bring an active lifestyle to our children.
Above all, the Games are a unique opportunity to share the values of Olympism. In the tormented world of today, the cardinal values of the Olympic movement - friendship, excellence and respect – must resonate more than ever before, and Paris is ideally positioned to share them in 2024.
How often does an opportunity to write such an exhilarating chapter in our country’s history come about? How often are we able to offer our youth such a moment to share with the world?
I am convinced that Paris 2024 will change our history, because this is a passionate project that makes sense for us all.
With fewer than 200 days to go until the decision of the International Olympic Committee on September 13, let’s join together in this incredible French project using the hashtag #Paris2024, to explain why sharing Olympic values matters so much this time around.
Vive Paris 2024.