SAINT-DENIS: President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday (October 14) that he expected the Paris 2024 Olympics to give a big boost to participation in sport in France.
“The goal is not simply to get medals, it will be to put sport at the heart of the nation,” Macron said, while visiting the Olympic works and existing sports facilities in the north of Paris.
Macron said 200 million euros ($ 232 million) of financing will be made available to create up to 5,000 new sports facilities for public use at the time of the Games.
Macron, who is expected to seek re-election next year, was criticized for comments he made after this year’s Tokyo Olympics when he urged French competitors to win “many more” medals in 2024 than the 33 they won. in Japan.
That loot, which included 10 gold medals, was nine fewer medals than France won at the 2016 Rio Games.
The president says France should aim to finish in the top five nations on the medal table at the Paris Olympics – in Tokyo they were eighth in terms of gold medals, but tenth when ranked by total medals won.
He said: “We took stock and came back. That’s what every coach does every day with his team, that’s what top-level sport is all about. I didn’t see many athletes moved by what I said.”
Accompanied by Tony Parker, the now retired French NBA star, Macron also visited the construction site of the Olympic Athletes’ Village in Saint-Ouen, north of Paris, and was expected to take part in one more soccer match. later that day.
“I will try to put in a good performance,” said the 43-year-old president.