Global Sports Week was officially opened today at the Eiffel Tower in Paris by French Minister delegate in charge of sports Roxana Maracineanu, Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet, Deputy Mayor of Paris Pierre Rabadan, President of the Eiffel Tower Operating Company Jean-Francois Martins and Global Sports Week President Lucien Boyer.
Yannick Bestaven, fresh from his victory last week in the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world yacht race and NBA All-star Tony Parker were among other high-profile names to make an appearance live from the Eiffel Tower.
The session began with a series of video messages from the leaders of each of the six Global Sports Week hub cities – all future hosts of the Olympic and Paralympic or Youth Olympic Games.
Roxana Maracineanu said: “Global Sports Week is a great event that puts sport at the service of change. And I think there couldn’t be a better moment now that sport has to reinvent itself.”
Tony Parker said: “I think it’s a great event. I think it can inspire the new generation to talk about these topics that we have discussed today.”
Yannick Bestaven said: “To win the Vendee Globe five days ago and now be at the Eiffel Tower talking about it is unreal.”
Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo said: “In these trying times, we more than ever need sport to bring us together. Despite the distance, I’m proud that Paris remains in contact with the rest of the world, especially with Beijing, Milan, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Dakar.
“I hail the Global Sports Week’s initiative which strengthens the ties between the different Olympic venues and fosters solidarity between us. We all share the belief that sport must be at the heart of our lives and our cities.
“I know how hard the current moment is for young people all around the world, which is why I’m so glad that this kind of event exists, to allow us to reflect, all together, on sport and tomorrow’s world. “
Vice Mayor of Beijing Zhang Jiandong said: “Global Sports Week Paris is an influential event for the global sports sector. It provides an important platform for people across all walks of life with an interest in the future of sport.
“We send our best wishes to Paris, Tokyo and all the other future Olympic cities and wish Global Sports Week full success.”
Mayor of Dakar Soham El Wardini said: “I am pleased to join you for this important moment that magnifies and celebrates our commitment to sport as a whole. Sport, as a unifying activity, which today connects six capitals, future host cities of the Olympic Games, is a perfect lever on which we must rely to engage our fellow citizens, especially young people, in the path of development.”
Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti said: “I’m thrilled to join my fellow Mayors around the world as we mark this year’s Global Sports Week.
“In my city, like in so many of yours, sport is so much more than a way to pass the time, it is a way of life. So as we take on our work this week, I hope that we will also focus on how sport can also be an instrument of equity, a tool to transform our societies and open doors to opportunities for all young people, to increase participation among genders and people with different abilities and give everyone a chance to take the field.”
Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala said: “We are delighted to host this inspirational event in our city. We are looking forward to listening to the speakers and high-profile guests gathered in Paris, Milan, Beijing, Dakar, Los Angeles and Tokyo which are, like Milan, true sports capitals. I’m confident that Global Sports Week will provide us with valuable insights in order to increase sport’s positive impact in our society.”
Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike said: “I’m delighted that Tokyo is one of six cities where Global Sports Week, an event which brings the world together to discuss the future of sport, will be held.
“The Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will commence here on July 23rd. As the leader of a host city, in order to deliver a successful Tokyo 2020 Games I believe that it is essential to provide a safe and secure environment for everyone involved. It is our hope that the Tokyo 2020 Games will symbolise the bright future of the world that has overcome Covid-19.”