Renaud Lavillenie plans to compete at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris– but he is also considering taking a role in the Organising Committee due to be set up early next year.
France’s 31-year-old pole vault world record holder, winner of the Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and silver at Rio 2016, was among 60 leading French athletes who gathered here today at the country’s elite sports academy to discuss possible future roles at Paris 2024.
"It’s totally new for me," Lavillenie told insidethegames.
" have no idea how I can be involved - I am pretty sure I will be involved as a role model at least, and maybe I can be involved also inside the Organising Committee.
"I think I will not be retired when the Games come here.
"My goal for the Paris 2024 Olympics for sure is to be part of the athletes team.
"But the good thing is that the Organising Committee already has some athletes who are still dong the sport but are also thinking about the future."
Lavillenie is already familiar with a joint competing/organising role, having successfully promoted the All Star Perche meeting in his home town of Clermont-Ferrand for the last two years.
“I am a meeting organiser myself, so I have a good point of view from inside and outside, so that could be something interesting,” he added.
Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet, three times an Olympic C1 canoe gold medallist, told insidethegames: "It is so important for us to continue to engage in the athlete community because they are so important to the success of the Paris 2024 Games.
"For me on the journey of the bid from the beginning to the end I always counted on the support of the athletes.
"For the new phase we wanted to implement the same recipe of success.
"The idea is to follow the athletes, to start the journey of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee."
Asked if this would main full-time paid jobs for athletes within the Organising Committee, Estangeut hinted there could be opportunities.
"It was already the case in the bid phase, so there is no reason why we will not have the same thing in the organising phase.," he said.
"We want to have athletes at different levels of responsibilities, all the way to the top.
"For me that is part of the legitimacy of this Organising Committee.
"There is no doubt about the importance of having the athletes involved whenever we speak about the sport involvement, about the engagement of the population, the sponsors, the media.
"Because they know what the Games are about.
"They know this country.
"And they have the passion to engage the population in this success."
Estanguet was accompanied by Denis Masseglia, President of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF), and Jean-Philippe Gatien, Paris 2024 Sports Director and President of the Board of Directors of INSEP, in wide-ranging discussions with groups of athletes at various stages of their career.
Many of those present had been heavily involved in the project from the start, including triple Paralympic Champion and Co-Chair of the Paris 2024 bid’s Athletes’ Commission, Marie-Amélie Le Fur and Olympic champion and President of the CNOSF Athletes’ Commission Fabien Gilot.
They were joined by Sarah Ourahmoune, Olympic silver medallist and vice-president of the CNOSF and Olympic silver medallist and Paris 2024 education ambassador Emmeline Ndongue.
Among the topics discussed were the structure and mission of the future Athletes' Commission within Paris 2024 and the format of the ambassadors’ programme.
During the meeting a framework for a Paris 2024 Athletes’ Plan was also put in place that will form a core part of the strategy of the new Organising Committee.