ATR Extra: France Preparing the Legacy for Youth of the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics with the Hosting of the ISF Gymnasiade School Summer Games 2022, in Normandy

“The Games Before the Games”

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The 2024 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad and also known as Paris 2024, are scheduled to take place from 26 July to 11 August 2024 and will be the biggest event ever organised in France.

The Olympic Games is more than just a sports event, as it also provides opportunities for further development in various different areas for the host country as well as offering them the chance to showcase their national charisma and culture.

Featuring 32 sports with 306 events, the IOC is keen to set a new standard for inclusive, gender-balanced and youth-centred games. The eventual success of the Paris 2024 Games will be even more clear from future generations continuing to reap the rewards created from the Games for years to come, benefiting from the legacy left by Paris 2024, with the preparation to achieve this, put in place well before the Games officially begin.

Therefore, France and its national school sport federation, ‘Union Nationale du Sport Scolaire’ (UNSS) supported by the French Government, and key cities from the region of Normandy, presented a strong bidding dossier to host the next ISF Gymnasiade School Summer Games. The event is envisioned as a part of the foundations for the legacy and involvement of youth in Paris 2024 to be known as ‘The Games before the Games’.

With this, the next ISF Gymnasiade School Summer Games was attributed to Normandy, France taking place from 14 -22 May 2022. This will be the 5th time the ISF Gymnasiade will be held in France, and returning to the region of Normandy. The city of Caen hosted the event back in 2002.

As well being a part of the preparations for Paris 2024, the ISF Gymnasiade Normandy 2022 will contribute to the strategy of France towards developing the promotion of physical education and physical activity in schools all around the nation. Additionally, the event will also take place during the European Union Presidency of France, with the ISF Gymnasiade being an instrumental part of the ISF’s pledge to the European Commission’s new initiative #HealthyLifestyle4All.

ISF President & IOC Olympic Education Commission Member, Laurent Petrynka says “The 19th ISF Gymnasiade Normandy 2022 will be a great opportunity for the international sport and Olympic movements to emphasise the importance of major sport events for youth, and the long-term impact of such events on local and international communities.

“This event in France will be a fantastic example of good practice while developing topics of health, skills, gender equality, and empowerment for youth. Furthermore, it will provide a unique opportunity to develop the vision and policies for schools and grassroots sport, which can also serve elite level strategies, nationally, and strongly align with the IOC’s goal to set a new standard for inclusive, gender-balanced, and youth centred Olympic Games.

“This will also be the occasion to cooperate with international institutions, on the development of educational matters such as anti-doping, safeguarding of children, integrity, inclusion, and sustainability.”

The ISF Gymnasiade School Summer Games is the largest ISF international multi-sport and educational event organised for school students aged 15-18 years old. For this next edition of the ISF Gymnasiade, Normandy will host over 3000 student athletes from the five continents around the world, to compete in 20 different sports across 4 major cities in the region of Normandy: Caen, Deauville, Le Havre, and Rouen.

Furthermore, for the first time in the history of the ISF Gymnasiade, the decision was made to have the 2022 edition also include 3 different para sports, combining school athletes from the two event formats under the umbrella of the 19th ISF Gymnasiade. This will create an historic school sport occasion, highlighting and promoting the importance of inclusive values throughout school sport and ISF events.

The sports that will make up the 19th ISF Gymnasiade Normandy 2022 are: Archery, Artistic Gymnastics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball 3x3, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, DanceSport, Fencing, Judo, Orienteering, Para Athletics, Para Judo, Para Swimming, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Rugby Sevens, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, and Wrestling,

Deputy to the interministerial delegate for major sporting events (DIGES), of the French Ministry of Sports Mr Karim Herida took the opportunity to speak with ISF about the upcoming ISF Gymnasiade Normandy 2022.

“This international school sport event being held in France just before the Olympic Games, is the mobilisation of a whole generation. This event is particularly useful when we see the current public health issues linked to the sedentary lives of young people and the time spent in front of screens. Sport, for a whole generation and all youth, is also becoming a public health issue. And then sport for what it is, means interactions, interactions between generations, interactions between countries and all these links, are in fact strategic links within the framework of hosting a major event. It is also a very important rehearsal for the Olympic Games and for future volunteers, including more professional functions that all these young people could take on after the Gymnasiade.

“When we have an event of this scale as early as May 2022, a couple of years before the Games, at a time when the topics of the passing of the Olympic flame, the « Terre de Jeux” and the of mobilisation are being put in place bringing all youth and this current generation with us, as well as parents of course, in both their national and international dimension, which is obviously a key element.

“The whole philosophy of ISF, school sport and the UNSS, is to place a set of values and methods of practice around sport and go beyond the practice of sport, which count as a common theme, and also helps creates mobilisation and helps organise around it, structured elements of value such as the fight against inequality or the topic of anti-doping.

“What we want to say is that we are not preparing an event, we are preparing a meeting of the world’s youth community. There is nothing better than an international meeting between young people around sport. Then, we can be sure that the element of fraternity that is dear to our country will be highlighted and experienced in the French style.”

Presented by International School Sport Federation

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