The Tokyo Games continue, with six more days before the curtain falls. But Europe is not waiting to prepare the next ones. And it moves forward together.
The organizing committees of Paris 2024 Summer Games and Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Games have chosen to join forces. They signed a cooperation agreement in the Japanese capital, this Tuesday, August 3rd. An association presented as natural, bearing the stamp of common sense, according to the two signatories, presidents of their respective entities: Tony Estanguet on the French side and Giovanni Malago on the Italian one.
The approach is not unprecedented. Paris 2024 has already concluded a similar agreement with the Californians of Los Angeles 2028. The Asians of PyeongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 had also concretized their will to share expertise and knowledge by a cooperation agreement.
But the French and Italians are not hiding it: they want to go further. Their association is intended to be concrete and practical. Above all, it does not exclude any area of expression. “We have a common will to leave a legacy in society, especially for the practice of sports in schools. A legacy for the people,” explains Tony Estanguet. “Time has come to propose a new model for the Olympic Games, more sustainable, with a better use of existing facilities. We want to share everything that can be shared.”
Giovanni Malago, president of the Organizing Committee of Milan-Cortina 2026 and the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), embraces with the same voluntary gesture. “We want to learn a lot from Paris 2024, because France is France, Paris is Paris, and Tony is … Tony,” he suggests with humor. “We have our respective personalities, but we have in common, Italians and French, a touch of class. With Paris 2024, we will be the first two Games to put the IOC’s New Standard into practice”.
In practice, Paris 2024 and Milan-Cortina 2026 want to take advantage of their common culture, but also their geographical proximity, to build bridges rarely imagined in the Olympic movement. The French plan to open their observation program to the Italians, which is usually rather intended for the host city of the same season’s next Games. The Italian team could send some of its members to settle at Paris 2024’s OCOG headquarters several months before the event, in the technology department, for example.
Another idea is to also bring Los Angeles 2028 on board so they can all develop digital apps together. For transportation, for example. This approach would have the advantage of multiplying skills. It could also reduce costs. The IOC should appreciate it.
“We are not forbidding ourselves anything,” explains the Paris 2024 OCOG. “Let’s all see what can be useful to each other”. Another example: the torch relay. Combining the two events would have the merit of giving Paris 2024 a European dimension. The idea would also make it easier to mobilize the Italian population around the Olympic cause, eighteen months before the deadline.
An incursion of the 2024 Olympic flame in Milan and in the north of Italy? Officially, the subject is not yet on the agenda. But the idea is attractive. It would break with conventions.