TOKYO - The handover of the Paralympic Flag from Tokyo 2020 to Paris 2024 will take place during Sunday’s closing ceremony at the national stadium and the organizers of the next Games outlined their vision for the their first Paralympics during a press conference at the Main Press Centre on Friday morning.
Pierre Rabadan, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Sport, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Etienne Thobois, CEO of Paris 2024, and Marie-Amélie Le Fur, President of the French National Paralympic Committee, took part in the press conference to share their ambitions for France’s first Paralympics.
The flag will be passed from Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo, to Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and will be followed by a Paris 2024 artistic segment courtesy of three acts: a unique interpretation of the Marseillaise by sign-singer Betty Moutoumalaya; a show produced by choreographer Sadek Berrabah, and a unique musical performance by Pone, which will take place at the ‘Live des Jeux’ live site in the gardens of the Trocadero in front of the Eiffel Tower. As was the case during the Olympic handover, the public will gather together with the athletes returning from Tokyo 2020 to celebrate the arrival of the Paralympic Games in France.
Etienne Thobois, CEO of Paris 2024, said: “There is always this something extra that grabs you by the heart at the Paralympic Games. It’s thrilling and inspiring for every sports fan; and it stays in your soul. Our goal with Paris 2024 is to open this experience to as many people as possible – and to bring Paralympians closer to their public, which means all fans of sport.”
The Paris 2024 organising committee aim to use the Games as a platform to transform the city into being one of the most accessible and inclusive cities in the world.
“The overall objective is to bring more sport into people’s lives, sports can help address a lot of things in society, health and with accessibility.
“In terms of the Paralympics we take sport as a way to be more inclusive, for our volunteer program we want it be connected to people with disabilities.
“The organising committee want to have people with disabilities working with us, sourcing and managing work spaces and the training and work environment must be just right.”
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics has been an invaluable experience for the Paris 2024 organising committee who hope to have full stadiums for the next Olympic and Paralympic Games
“We hope that the pandemic will be over by 2024, or at least not as strong as it is now, these Games in Tokyo have been fantastic, the only thing lacking of course has been fans.
“We hope for the best but we will also plan for the worst, we learnt so much from our time here at Tokyo 2020.”
Pierre Rabadan, Deputy Mayor of Paris – Sport, Olympic and Paralympic Games - commended the organization of Tokyo 2020 and spoke of his vision for the next instalment of the Paralympic Movement.
“I’d like to say a massive congratulations to the organizers of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we had the opportunity to have a lot of interactions with staff and officials here.
“We could see what the organizers could do in these testing times and what they achieved is incredible.
“Well done to the athletes on this Paralympic stage and especially for the French team who secured an important number of medals, we are especially happy with you Marie-Amelie (women’s long jump T64 silver medalist), I congratulate you.”
The organisers are committed to transforming the host city in time for Paris 2024.
“Important things for me and city of Paris, we want to make the city more accessible,” said Rabadan.
“After receiving the flag, we will have in France for the first time the Paralympic Games, we are happy and extremely motivated to host the best Paralympics ever.
“As you know we have the same vision for the Olympics and Paralympics with the same logo, we try to maintain the same venues and we wish to have everything equal.
“We are hoping for a massive evolution, more than 10 suburbs will be changed between now and 2024 and we will improve access to venues and transportation. We will focus on innovation to impress on this essential area of accessibility in Paris.
“We want to transform Paris which is a modern city so there’s a lot of work to do but we are very excited about it.”