— Published 30 May 2022

Normandy, a collective project

With less than 800 days to go before the opening of the Paris 2024 Games, the French municipalities and territories that are candidates to be Centres of Preparation for the Games (CPJ) are getting into battle. The aim is to attract one or more teams or delegations before the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The organising committee has compiled a catalogue of 560 training sites. It is proposed to the National Olympic Committees.

The Normandy region ranks high in terms of its geographical location and the diversity of its offer. FrancsJeux interviewed Aline Louisy Louis, its vice-president in charge of Youth and Sports (photo below).

FrancsJeux: What is, in detail, your CPJ offer?

Aline Louisy Louis: Since 2018, the Normandy Region has identified 80 high-level sports facilities, spread over 50 territories, capable of hosting international delegations in the various Olympic and Paralympic disciplines. An online guide presents these different Normandy sports facilities, as well as their environment and related services (accommodation, catering, para-medical). The vast majority of them have been recognised as YPCs by the COJOP.

What are the assets of these facilities and the cities concerned?

Normandy is very close to Paris and offers an exceptional environment combining sea and countryside, a temperate climate and sea air that facilitate acclimatisation and put the athletes in an excellent position to perform in all seasons. A very touristy region, Normandy hosts major international events and has a complete ecosystem: an excellent hotel capacity with a very diversified range of accommodation, catering establishments capable of adapting to the nutritional requirements of the very high level, and specialised medical and para-medical structures. The Normandy Region owns the Normandy Sports Centre (CSN) in Houlgate (photo above), which has been awarded the Grand INSEP label and is currently undergoing an ambitious €50 million renovation programme. Located less than a kilometre from the sea and two hours from Paris, it is nestled in the heart of an exceptional 12-hectare park. For many years, it has been home to the French judo team and Teddy Riner. This preparation site offers a unity of place and allows the reception of several sports delegations, thanks to the variety of its equipment, all connected and equipped with video recording: 3 multi-purpose gymnasiums, 1 dojo with 6 combat areas, 1 athletics platform, 2 archery pits, 1 of which is indoor, 2 dance/fitness rooms, 3 rugby/football pitches, 1 of which is synthetic, 1 covered beach volleyball hall. In addition, there are various accommodation units ranging from 2 to 4 stars (203 beds and 103 rooms), a tailor-made catering service, three weight training and PPG rooms, 17 meeting rooms, including one with 120 seats and a 200-seat auditorium, and finally a 700 m² sports medicine centre including a reathletisation area.

How do you plan to support the reception of foreign delegations before the Paris 2024 Games?

Since 2017, the Normandy region, local authorities and the sports movement, have taken a collective approach to raise awareness and listen more carefully to the issue of hosting delegations. Everyone is well aware of their role to play. The municipalities, EPCIs and departments are contributing to the animation and involvement of the population around the Paris 2024 Games with the objective of putting more sport in the lives of the inhabitants. The hosting of delegations corresponds to the projects of the territories. Each of them has targeted the countries and disciplines with which they wish to cooperate. The Region intends to play the role of facilitator and coordinator in hosting delegations. The strength of our territory is to play collectively. In concrete terms, the Region and the local authorities that own a facility discuss with the delegations the services and cooperation to be put in place, including the needs and involvement of the delegation in the territory.

What impact and legacy could hosting foreign delegations have for Normandy beyond the Games?

Since 2017, Normandy has seized the opportunity of the Paris 2024 Games. Firstly, to federate the territories, to create or strengthen cooperation between Normandy’s sports players and to reinforce the network of sports facilities in Normandy. Secondly, Normandy wishes to develop and strengthen international cooperation in the long term, particularly through sports partnerships and the promotion of the region as a land of international sport. In the long term, the aim is to make the Normandy Region a preferred destination for high-level sport and the hosting of major sporting events.

What kind of delegations do you hope to receive?

Normandy has the capacity to host all sports. In fact, on several occasions, it has hosted major nations for international sporting events in the region, including the World Equestrian Games, the World Handball Championships, the Women’s Football World Cup and international athletics meetings. Some territories aim to host the best delegations in the world in their discipline. We have drawn up a list of target countries to host as a priority, without excluding other opportunities that may arise. These are countries with which Normandy has strong historical links or cooperation already in place. We position ourselves in a logic of international cooperation in the broadest sense and over the long term. We are delighted with the collective work that is beginning to produce the first results with the hosting of delegations ahead of various major international events (International Grand Prix, Commonwealth Games 2022 and Paris Games 2024). Several delegations have already confirmed that they will be coming to Normandy in 2022: Morocco in para-athletics and gymnastics, Canada in swimming and gymnastics, Ecuador in table tennis, and several French teams.