The timing is not random. With just over a week to go before the symbolic date of D-1000 days to go before the opening of the Paris 2024 Games on Saturday, October 20th, Seine-Saint-Denis is getting ready to go into battle. It wants to remind everyone, including the OCOG, of the major role it intends to play before and during the Olympic and Paralympic event.
On Thursday, October 21st, the Ile-de-France department adopted the update of its “Mobilisation Plan for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games”. It reaffirms the commitment of Seine-Saint-Denis and outlines the roadmap for its action over the next three years.
With one main objective : to ensure that the Games fully benefit Seine-Saint-Denis and its inhabitants. The document was voted on in the presence of Tony Estanguet, the president of the organising committee, who came to give a “progress report” to the department’s elected officials.
There’s no mistaking it: the place of Seine-Saint-Denis has declined between Paris 2024’s bid and the latest version of the Olympic and Paralympic plan, finalised last year. The department lost the swimming race, which was relocated to Nanterre, in the Hauts-de-Seine, and volleyball, which had long been considered in a temporary arena in Le Bourget. Above all, it had to scrap the opening ceremony, planned for the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, which was now refocused in Paris, on the Seine.
The blow was hard. The OCOG had justified it by a desire to reduce costs and by its desire to “break the codes”. Nothing to say about that.
But the department, even without several sites and the prestige of the opening night, wanted to make the most of the event. Its mobilisation plan aims to involve all the inhabitants, local authorities and players of Seine-Saint-Denis. It proposes “concrete and ambitious” actions until 2024, which are supposed to nurture all of its public policies.
How can this be done? First of all, through volunteering. Its “Toutes et tous volontaires” project aims to recruit and train 10,000 volunteers from Seine-Saint-Denis for the Games. They will join the 45,000 volunteers that the organising committee will recruit from the beginning of 2023. Ambitious but realistic.
Another possibility: the creation of a network of ambassadors for the Paris 2024 Games. Seine-Saint-Denis is already supporting around thirty promising young people as part of the “Generation 2024” operation. Among them is the table tennis player Prithika Pavade, a member of the Saint-Denis club and the youngest member of the French delegation to the Tokyo 2020 Games.
For young people, the Mobilisation Plan proposes a dedicated scheme, called “130 countries in 130 schools”, designed to develop actions linked to the Games in schools (workshops, meetings with associations and sportsmen and women, school trips, etc.).
As for the Paralympics, Seine-Saint-Denis wants to roll up its sleeves to develop the practice. Assistance with licences will be offered to secondary school students. Five adapted multi-sports schools will be created every year until 2024. The fight against discrimination will be strengthened. Equality between men and women in sport and access to sport for all will be made priorities.
Finally, the department will support its VSB-SMEs and SSE companies in the many markets opened up by the COJO Paris 2024 and the SOLIDEO, and will direct job seekers towards the tens of thousands of jobs offered by the Games thanks to a partnership with the State and Pôle Emploi.
“Beyond the major transformations and facilities, the Games will have to mark a turning point in terms of employment, integration, inclusion and the development of sports and cultural activities for all,” insists Stéphane Troussel, President of the Seine-Saint-Denis department. With less than three years to go before the opening, time is running out.