— Published 2 June 2023

For Paris 2024, culture has a head start

Nice place for a presentation. The Paris 2024 OCOG chose a barge moored on the banks of the Seine, under the Pont Neuf, to unveil the spirit and part of the program of its cultural Olympiad. It promises to be a bountiful one.

Mimicry? Who knows? But, as with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Paris 2024 is thinking big. Very big. The OCOG is already counting the thousands of shows, exhibitions and concerts scheduled between now and September 8, 2024, in the capital and the rest of France. But, unlike the athletes, the number is not yet definitive.

Dominique Hervieu, the Organizing Committee’s Director of Culture, explained without hiding her figures: the programming of the Cultural Olympiad is the result of a two-way process.

On the one hand, there are the projects submitted to the COJO by artists, troupes, associations and local authorities. At last count, there were more than 1,600 of them, from 529 territories that had been awarded the Terre de Jeux label. Just over half of these (836) have already been approved, or will be in the coming weeks. These projects will be put together and presented, in Paris or just about anywhere else in France. But they will not be financed by the organizing committee.

On the other hand, the opposite is true. The Paris 2024 OCOG has launched eighteen calls for projects. The applications received are carefully scrutinized and then selected by a jury. The 450 successful applicants are financed and supported by the OCOG.

An amusing detail: all the artists selected must sign the Olympic Charter.

Pour son olympiade culturelle, Paris 2024 a débloqué un budget de 11,9 millions d’euros. Mais les autres acteurs de la pièce, dont la Ville de Paris, la région Ile-de-France et le ministère de la Culture, apportent eux aussi leur part dans la cagnotte.

Dans tous les cas, une même ligne de conduite. Elle se résume à quelques idées directrices. Profiter des Jeux de Paris 2024 pour montrer l’ADN de la création artistique en France. Insister sur la liberté de création. Ne rien s’interdire. Laisser les artistes pousser les murs sans retenir leurs gestes. Enfin, précision presque superflue, allier le sport et la culture.

A la différence de son pendant sportif, l’olympiade culturelle peut déjà s’exprimer au présent. Elle a débuté et affiche un solide programme pour l’année 2023.

For its cultural Olympiad, Paris 2024 has released a budget of 11.9 million euros. But the other players in the play, including the City of Paris, the Ile-de-France region and the Ministry of Culture, are also contributing their share to the kitty.

In all cases, the same guiding principle applies. It can be summed up in a few guiding ideas. Take advantage of the Paris 2024 Games to showcase the DNA of artistic creation in France. Insist on creative freedom. Prohibit nothing. Let artists push the walls without holding back their gestures. And last but not least, to combine sport and culture.

Unlike its sporting counterpart, the Cultural Olympiad can already express itself in the present tense. It has begun and has a solid program for 2023.

What’s more, there’ll be a table tennis match in XXL format, a wrestling match at the Châtelet, a theater marathon and a relay organized by film directors. Former biathlete Martin Fourcade, IOC member and President of the Athletes’ Commission of the Paris 2024 OCOG, will also be on hand. He will present his one-man show, “Hors piste“, in Grenoble, then in Paris and a dozen other French cities.

The cultural Olympiad launched its official website on Thursday June 1. From May 2024, the IOC will make room for it on its platform and app dedicated to the Paris 2024 Games. A first.