Tony Estanguet

A few weeks ago, we marked 1,000 days to go until the Olympic Games return to Paris in 2024, one century after the last edition was hosted in our city in 1924.

Staying true to our philosophy of making our Games open to all, we celebrated this milestone with an innovative mass-participation race, where members of the public competed against the world’s best marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge.

Of course, we did not expect any of our runners, no matter how determined, to catch the only man to run a marathon in under two hours… We therefore made the public start several minutes ahead of Kipchoge. Those who completed their race before him were rewarded with a starting spot in 2024 at the "Marathon Pour Tous", Mass Event Running - the first event of its kind to ever take place on the same day and on the same course as the Olympic race. During 32 editions of the Games, spectators remain spectators. For the first time, in 2024, they will also be able to participate!

The chance to win this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity resulted in more than 3,600 members of the public taking up our challenge, with more than 1,500 qualifying for the Marathon Pour Tous in 2024.

Back-to-back Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge starred in a pursuit race to mark 1,000 days until Paris 2024 ©Getty Images
Back-to-back Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge starred in a pursuit race to mark 1,000 days until Paris 2024 ©Getty Images

The race took place in the Champ-Elysées, because Paris 2024’s ambition is to turn Paris iconic landmarks into one big Olympic and Paralympic celebration for all to enjoy. This means, for example, that the fans will be able to enjoy equestrian events at the Château de Versailles or beach volleyball at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. From there, sports enthusiasts will be able to take a 30-minute walk along the banks of the River Seine before arriving at the iconic Place de La Concorde, which will be transformed into an urban sports park featuring skateboarding, BMX and breaking which is looking forward to making its Olympic debut.

Using these iconic sites as sport venues is also a way to host Games that are financially, environmentally and socially responsible. Ninety-five per cent of the sporting infrastructure used for the Games is either already in place or will be temporary. As hosts of the world’s largest and most popular sporting event, we feel it is our social responsibility to lead by example and host sustainable Games, to launch a new model of Games. In order to achieve this, we have set ourselves an ambitious but strict target of cutting all Games-related emissions by 50 per cent. The emissions we cannot avoid, for instance those linked to the transportation of athletes and officials, will be offset by CO2 avoidance projects, such as initiatives to conserve and restore forests and oceans. More than ever, athletes' voices are growing in influence and playing a leading role in shifting attitudes on climate change. Paris 2024 is determined to provide them with a Games they can be proud of and a credible platform from which they can promote messages on sustainability.

The only two permanent sports facilities being built will be the Olympic swimming pool and the climbing walls, both of which match local people and territory needs.

Paris 2024 has committed to featuring Paris' iconic landmarks prominently come the Olympics and Paralympics ©Getty Images
Paris 2024 has committed to featuring Paris' iconic landmarks prominently come the Olympics and Paralympics ©Getty Images

It's the same thing for the Athletes' Village, which is located in Seine-Saint-Denis, the youngest and most diverse territory in France. After the Games, it will be turned into 2,500 new homes, a business district, one school, etcetera. There will also be new or renovated sports facilities. All these infrastructures, which contribute to the development of the local district, are financed for 50 per cent by the local authorities and for 50 per cent by private land developers.

But apart from this budget related to local development, 97 per cent of the budget of the Games is private. It comes from ticketing revenues, broadcasting revenues and our partnership programme. In recent months, in addition to the companies of the Olympic Partner Programme, we have secured a wide range of new domestic partnerships, securing two-thirds of our partnership’s objectives, with leading national and global brands such as BPCE Group, EDF, Orange, Sanofi, Accor Group, Cisco, Decathlon, FDJ, Le Coq Sportif, PWC.

And they are not the only companies who will be part of the Paris 2024 project. We created two programmes - "Entreprises 2024" and "ESS 2024" to help small and social businesses apply to Games-related contracts. Beyond the economic sector, we also created a programme - "Terre de Jeux 2024" - for all the cities and all the sport clubs which want to take part in the Olympic and Paralympic adventure.  We really want to give everyone the opportunity to engage into the Games.