— Published 27 July 2023

“I’m not very, I’m very very confident”

It’s done. Thomas Bach has officially sent invitations to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games to the National Olympic Committees. He did so on Wednesday July 26, one year ahead of the event, from the OCOG headquarters in Saint-Denis.

The IOC President initialed an imposing stack of letters on the body’s letterhead, the highlight of a highly ceremonial ceremony marked by a Marseillaise played on the violin and demonstrations of breaking and freestyle soccer.

A total of 203 National Olympic Committees will be invited by the IOC to send their best athletes to Paris next year, plus the Olympic Refugee Team. Three are still missing: Russia and Belarus, due to the conflict in Ukraine, and Guatemala, suspended since October 2022 for political interference.

During the ceremony, Thomas Bach handed over his letter of invitation directly to the presidents or representatives of the Olympic Committees of Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, and of the host countries of recent and forthcoming Olympic and Youth Games, as well as to the Refugee Olympic Team (pictured above).

Four of these National Olympic Committees were represented by their presidents: David Lappartient for France, Spyros Capralos for Greece, Yasuhiro Yamashita for Japan, and Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye for Senegal. For the others, the NOC had the choice of an athlete, delegating an Olympic champion to Paris: Giulia Quintavalle (judo) for Italy, Elena Meyers Taylor for the USA, Alex Hill for Australia.

Questioned by the media at the end of the ceremony, Thomas Bach once again repeated his optimism about the preparations for the Paris 2024 Games, without holding back his praise. “I’m not very, I’m very very confident, he explained. I’ve had some excellent days here in Paris. We’ve seen the work of the organizing committee, all of which gives us every confidence.

A few hours earlier, Emmanuel Macron had expressed the same confidence on the sidelines of his trip to New Caledonia. The President of the Republic assured us that France would be “ready for sure” to host the Games. He added to Franceinfo: “It’s a France that’s proud of itself, a France that shines, and a France that’s going to show that it’s capable of the greatest, thanks to a fantastic show, which we’ll be finalizing in the autumn, and which will be the opening ceremony in a year’s time.