Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Philip Rio: “We must ensure the right to sports, such as the right to education, housing, health or employment.”

Is the Paris 2024 Olympics a lever for “living well” in Ile-de-France?

Philip Rio From the date, no. Because most cities labeled Tere de Juix 2024 have the logic of hosting a planetary event without using the opportunity to “build a nation” through sports. This other approach, however, would allow us to use the games as a diplomatic and political event aimed at repairing French cracks through sports. A vector of sports national reunion, a remarkable integration machine. With 17 million members, it is even the leading team in France!

Were the Olympic cities, of which you were one of the instigators, designed to bring sports back to the center of public policy?

Philip Rio They were born in the wake of a 2017 suburban appeal aimed at protecting working-class neighbors in the face of budget cuts. Four years later, in October 2021, a group of elected officials – Catherine Areno, the various right-wing mayors (DVDs) of Chantelope-les-Vignes (Evalines), Guillaume Delbar, the DVD mayor of Rubeix (north), Benoit Jimenez, the central leader. lès-Gonesse (Val-d’Oise), Gilles Leproust, PCF mayor of Allonnes (Sarthe) and I – organized the National Solution Council (CNS) to share ideas from the field, noting that those who have emerged above do not work. A toolbox of community experimentation to change the lives of working-class residents, and keep up the pressure on executives. With the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games approaching, we have jointly introduced the concept of “Olympic City” for the development of sports practice among the youth of disadvantaged areas. The Olympics must be a real springboard for elected officials and benefit those around the working class.

You even mentioned a sports zone project …

Philip Rio In France, we have a master plan for everything, but we have no tools to plan a region’s sports strategy. However, sports can be an essential lever for land use planning, from neighborhood to region. Especially in the working-class cities of লেle-de-France where we have infrastructural deficits. Unusually, we see the biggest deficit in Seine-Saint-Denis, the youngest region in France. The Olympics must be a structured national sports project and given the opportunity to capture it. Sport should no longer be the fifth wheel of our public policy car.

What is the concept of “Olympic City” based on?

Philip Rio The “Olympic cities” are designed on the model of educational cities, a rare step in the Borlu plan adopted by the government. We want to bring state, local authorities and associations together at the same table. Specifically, the project offers a common framework and purpose for all sports actors around five main axes: training actors and athletes in the making, installation of sports equipment, inclusion through sports, strengthening sports in and around the school, and new construction. Economic model for local sports.

You even talked about “sports rights” …

Philip Rio France must be equipped with a strong movement of sporting exceptions, because there are French cultural exceptions. We must collectively reaffirm the right to sports, such as the right to education, employment, housing, health … Sports is a means of inclusion that fights against social, gender and regional inequalities. However, the right to sports refers to equipment and means. And if the areas around our working-class are large suppliers of top-level athletes, they have, on average, one-third less sports equipment than the rest of the region. As a logical conclusion, the rate of sports licenses is 11%, compared to 34% in the rest of the country. There is no elite game without an amateur game. One cannot live without the other. Thus, the envelope of 200 million euros for the 5,000 new infrastructure announced by Emanuel Macron, inspired by Paris 2024, is not at the level of demand and deficit.

What do you mean by “sports continuity”?

Philip Rio In our Olympic City, cities are not just readers of gymnasiums and swimming pools! They have strengthened the relationship with national education to create a sports continuum that extends from school time to extracurricular activities, and even to association clubs. The city is in charge of this fluid regime for the youth. Again, sports are more than sports, especially in popular cities. It can change the course of life. In a field, we learn brotherhood, confidence, respect, humility, solidarity … Sport is a great carrier of social bonds, education, training and integration. Many clubs understand the potential role of their school and family mediation and invest in social activities and help with household chores. In our cities, the educational question becomes more central to the project of sports clubs, which refers to the enhancement of sports supervision skills.

Is sports a way to fight poverty?

Philip Rio Sure! In Greece, 50% of the population lives below the poverty line. So when the city sets the license price between 0 and 50 euros, it gives families the opportunity to learn to practice one or more sports, to leave their homes, to rub shoulders with the collective. Sports are an essential complement to the education of children and citizens. It’s a tool to better stay together. So we are going to organize our games! From this summer, the Youth Olympic Youth Parade will be held in partnership with ten sports federations.

Interview conducted by Mary-Stephen Guy


Download the 24 page PDF of our special Olympic Games 2024 supplement from Humanity Magazine.


What is the Terre de Jeux label?

Paris 2024 took it home: these games will be the whole of France ৷ With the Terre de Jeux 2024 label, the promise has become a reality, a unique measure in Olympic history that promotes the structure of local authorities and the sports movement for a more advanced and inclusive practice of sports. The label federated a community of actors that changed sporting lives. More than 2,800 communities and structures have been accredited and shared their experiences, projects and activities for the sport.

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