— Published 3 November 2022

The term “iconic site” is not overused

A logical choice. An obvious choice. Sébastien Flute slipped into the role of sports manager for archery at the Paris 2024 OCOG as naturally as if he were putting on a second skin.

At 50 years old, the former archer can boast of having experienced the Games in all their facets. As an athlete, with an individual Olympic title in Barcelona in 1992, then in the role of consultant for television channels, coach of the French team, and finally as technical delegate for the International Federation, World Archery.

FrancsJeux continues its series of interviews with the sport managers of the Paris 2024 Games.

FrancsJeux: What was your life like before the Paris 2024 OCOG?

Sébastien Flute: I worked for a dozen years for A.S.O (Amaury Sport Organisation), in the coordination team of major events, mainly the Tour de France and the Dakar. In 2019, I became the technical delegate for World Archery, the International Archery Federation, for the Tokyo 2020 Games. In this capacity, I was World Archery’s direct contact for the organising committee before and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

What is your past experience of the Olympic Games?

It is multiple, as I participated in different roles in seven consecutive editions of the Summer Games. Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 as an athlete, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 as a consultant for France Télévisions and Canal +, Rio 2016 as coach of the French men’s team, and finally Tokyo 2020 as technical delegate for World Archery.

What is your favourite memory of the Games?

The Olympic title in Barcelona in 1992, of course. I was 20 years old. My most outstanding memory. Then I would say Jean-Charles Valladont’s silver medal at the Rio 2016 Games. French archery does not often win Olympic medals. I had spent a whole year with the French team. For me, it was a way to come back in a different role. Finally, I remember the last day of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, when we were all able to look at each other and say that we had delivered the events in good conditions, without sacrificing a generation on the altar of COVID. Six months before, nothing was certain. I had a sense of accomplishment.

The top file on your desk?

The coordination of the organisation of archery at the Invalides with the other sports planned on the site. We will share the Esplanade with cycling, for the start of the time trial, and athletics, with the finish of the marathon and the race open to the general public. With my colleagues from these two sports, we are working hard to make a successful transition from one event to the other. The subjects are very varied. It is very enriching.

The archery venue: its assets, the challenges in the perspective of the Games?

In 2013, Paris hosted the archery World Cup Final at the Trocadero. The images of the competitions in such a place were a milestone. But it soon became clear that the venue would not be suitable for the Games. On the other hand, the Esplanade des Invalides immediately stood out, due to its size and its northern orientation. With only 2 or 3 degrees of elevation, it is almost perfect for the archers. The setting is fabulous, with the Grand Palais in line with the targets. With the Invalides, the expression “iconic site” is not overused. The challenge will be to develop the site for the Olympic and Paralympic competitions without obscuring the view of the Hôtel des Invalides. If we succeed, the events and their images will leave a lasting impression.

Paris 2024 will be a success for archery if…

They will be successful if people come to the venue with a smile on their face and find it amazing. It will be a success if we create a wow effect for the athletes when they see their competition venue. At the Olympic Games, but also for the Paralympics, where the archers will have the same setting. We will also have to successfully link up with other sports, including the marathon. Finally, success would also mean French medals. That is always a plus. But I have no control over that.