Is this reinvention that urgent? To this question, Christophe Berrard, a member of the Mazars Executive Committee in France and its Partner in charge of the 2024 sports project within the company, answers categorically: “The survival of the games depends on it. Environmental and social concerns are so strong that irresponsible choices cause a particularly high risk of apathy or even rejection of the event. If the DNA of games is to evolve over time by constantly renewing itself to meet the expectations of the public, the challenge for Paris 2024 remains daunting.”
Bringing the values of sports back to the fore
To the enthusiast, the 2024 Summer Games should succeed in accelerating the fourth major transformation in modern Games history.. Historically, the event’s first turning point was its massive financialization from its 1996 edition in the city of Coca-Cola, Atlanta. The second notable wave of change, this time security, was improved from the Games in Athens after September 11, 2004. Finally, the third mutation of a generational pattern was observed in Tokyo last year: attracting new populations of athletes and television audiences added five new sports to the Olympic sports roster. Four of them had not previously been represented at the Games – sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing.
The next Olympic and Paralympic Games aim to mark the beginning of a new era of sports, much more responsible and determined than the mood of certain previous editions. A break even more is expected as the games are regularly the subject of discussion, for example some host cities were chosen specifically for the event because they failed to give a second life to the huge spaces that came out of the ground. . “If Paris 2024 manages to keep its promises, it will be an unprecedented change in the history of this event, which has so far been more concerned with its magnificence and lucrativeness than what it could offer to the long-term general interest.says Christophe Berrard. The Games today can no longer be seen as a simple economy, they must more than ever communicate the values of sport and therefore integrate strong social and societal dimensions. »
Leverage the past to deliver the Games of the Future
With Paris 2024, the logic of sustainability will come into play. ” The motto of the Paris candidacy was inheritance as the basis of the event. In particular, it is a matter of relying on the natural environment and existing infrastructures throughout the region as much as possible, rather than undertaking large construction projects that are expensive, polluting but above all useless. If the budget envelope for infrastructure is much lower than previous Games, it is because around 90% of the required sites are already available”, Jean-Philippe Mathorez, Mazars Public Sector Partner and Paris 2024 auditor, explains. Thus, instead of creating a venue to host handball competitions, these will take place in part at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Lille. Similarly, the regatta tradition of the city of Marseille predisposed it to host sailing events. ” Everything is skillfully thought out and calculated on the basis of objective figures. For example, the surfing event that will take place in Tahiti will be more responsible than it seems and will allow the Overseas Territories and their populations to be associated with the Games. The competition could have been considered in mainland France, but statistically, the best waves are more likely to be in Polynesia at this time: there could have been very long waiting days due to lack of optimal conditions elsewhere, it was more expensive ‘, he elaborates.
As for the scarcity of infrastructures built on this occasion, they were designed with a positive impact in mind. “The Olympic village, which spans the municipalities of Saint-Denis, Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine and Île-Saint-Denis, will not be demolished, but will be transformed into an eco-zone for housing and activities. “Saint-Denis’s Olympic-size swimming pool will be the fun of the episode once the event is over, because it fills a real local social need.”stresses Jean-Philippe Mathorez. Regarding the Porte de la Chapelle Arena, 30% of the concrete required for its construction comes from low-carbon sources, and 8,000 seats are planned to be designed with 70 tons of recycled plastic waste. Some of these are also collected directly from residents who are invited to drop off their plastic caps at collection points in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. Finally, sustainability and heritage also mean ensuring proper waste management and tapping into another kind of national wealth: agricultural production and French gastronomy. Indeed, Paris 2024 aims to prioritize quality, short circuits and organic products over the import of industrial products, a real revolution for games. “These criteria have been at the heart of the calls for tenders launched by Paris 2024 since the start of the project. Because the positive impact will not be limited to a few weeks of competition, but will depend above all on the significant work carried out in the years preceding the event »Christophe Berrard insists.
Games for everyone (really)
He says the responsibility and values of sport, accessibility and inclusiveness. ” Efforts have been made financially as well as in terms of physical accessibility: The Paris Games are cracking the codes, as long as they’re really the first to appeal to the largest numbers. Witness the opening ceremony, which will be held in the public space on the River Seine, open to all and free of charge. “Jean-Philippe Mathorez exemplifies, while insisting on the organizational challenge implied by this extraordinarily popular night.” In all coherence, Paris 2024 aims to ensure that anyone who wishes to enter a competition can do so. », adds Christophe Berrard. Therefore, in order to limit the frustrations usually observed when the ticket offices are taken by storm, a registration system according to slots and draws will be implemented for the purchase of 13.4 million tickets with starting prices of around twenty euros. To participate in the Olympic celebrations. This concern for cost control applies to Paris 2024. ” The overall budget planned for the Paris Games is the lowest budget observed for many years. This is certainly explained by the use of existing infrastructures, but also by the pressure exerted by public authorities and the population. ‘ says Jean-Philippe Mathorez.
That’s why Paris 2024 looks set to shape the future face of major world sporting events in many ways. ” In terms of environmental and social impact, these Games will definitely be a big step up from other major sporting events, as none has yet begun such a profound and tangibly virtuous transformation. A priori apparent looming inconsistency can raise standards and accelerate accountability of sporting events. “, the duo of experts agree. There is no doubt that this positioning has contributed to France’s shine over a much longer period of time than the competition alone.” As can be seen in every edition of the Games, the positive side effects in terms of economic dynamism, job creation and tourist attraction last five years. We may not realize it yet, but the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games are a great opportunity for all France and all French people, sports fans or not. », says Christophe Berrard.
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