— Published 22 March 2023

For the volunteers of the Paris 2024 Games, the start is given

The start is given. It promises to be massive. The Paris 2024 OCOG officially launched its recruitment campaign for volunteers for the Olympic and Paralympic Games this Wednesday, March 22, 492 days before the opening ceremony. It will end on May 3. Six weeks, therefore, to receive and register applications announced by hundreds of thousands.

The figures are known, at least the main ones. They were revealed on Tuesday, March 21 at the time of a press conference to the seat of the committee of organization, the Pulse building in Saint-Denis. The OCOG will recruit 45,000 volunteers, 30,000 for the Olympic Games and 15,000 for the Paralympic event. “The highest number of the history for an event organized in France“, insisted Tony Estanguet, its president.

The bulk of the troops, about 60%, will be assigned to missions oriented towards the quality of the Olympic and Paralympic experience. The range is wide, but it concerns essentially all the forms of reception, including the spectators or the media. A third of the selected candidates will be assigned to the more sporting part of the Games, on the competition area. Finally, they will be less than 5,000 (10%) to live the event behind the scenes, in its organizational part (accreditations, media centers, distribution of uniforms …).

Most of the volunteers will be concentrated in the Paris region. But about 5,000 of them will live the Games in the provinces (Lille for basketball and handball, Tahiti for surfing, Châteauroux for shooting…).

To apply, the conditions are not very restrictive: to be at least 18 years old on January 1st, 2024, to speak French or English, to be available at least ten consecutive days throughout the Olympic and/or Paralympic Games.

Tony Estanguet explained: the OCOG hopes to be able to display a battalion of 45,000 volunteers respectful of parity and diversity. It aims to select at least 3,000 volunteers with disabilities.

The registration platform for the volunteer program is open to the whole world. All nationalities are allowed. Russians? “All countries are admitted, explained Alexandre Morenon-Condé, in charge of the program at the OCOG. But citizens from a country that does not belong to the Shengen area will have to make sure they can enter France.”

The timing? Once the registration platform is closed, after May 3, the OCOG will allow itself four months to analyze the applications. Applicants will be informed of their award, or lack thereof, between September and December 2023. Some of them could be launched in the big bath as soon as spring 2024, at the time of the pre-Olympic events.

The OCOG had already announced it, and repeated it on Tuesday, March 21: the volunteers will not be paid or compensated. Nor will they be paid for their transportation and accommodation. There is no agreement with SNCF or Air France, for example, to give them a discount on the train or plane. They will be entitled to one free meal per day and to travel by public transport from their place of residence to the site where they will be assigned.

How many of them will apply to live the Games in Decathlon uniform, from the inside, for a presumed “unique and unforgettable” experience? The COJO refuses to post its forecasts. But Tony Estanguet warns: “There will be disappointments, it is obvious. Not everyone will be selected.”

Clarification: the 45,000 volunteer positions will not all be filled via the program registration platform. The OCOG launched a recruitment campaign several months ago with national sports federations. The aim is to “source” and select volunteers who are already experienced in the field and have been working at sports events for many years. But the organizers did not wish to communicate on the figure of this parallel market, undoubtedly close to 10 000, not more than they advanced the least figure of the contingent of volunteers chosen by the partners of the Games.

Another track for the candidates to an immersive experience: the host communities of the Olympic events. At the head of the list, Paris. Pierre Rabadan, the deputy of Sports, detailed the needs of the capital. They turn out to be surprisingly precise, since they amount to 5 288 volunteers. Not one more, not one less. Some of them will be assigned to the center for non-accredited media, which the Paris City Council plans to install at the Carreau du Temple, in the 3rd arrondissement.

Pierre Rabadan promised it: the city of Paris will offer a free ticket for the Games to each of its 5 288 volunteers, taken on its quota of places. Cool. The COJO will not have the same largesse. Its volunteers will have to pay their tickets.