From Dupont to Antetokounmpo: the list of figures focusing on Paris 2024 is growing

The French scrum medium will mutate, like Michael Hooper, to rugby 7 with a view to the Games. The double MVP of the NBA is scored for the Olympic qualification. Mbappé moderates his enthusiasm, in a clear contrast to Djokovic.

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 A presence that will give hierarchy to Paris 2024.
A presence that will give hierarchy to Paris 2024.

What connects the best rugby player of 2021 to the top winner of the tennis Grand Slams? Or the captain of the French national soccer team with the 2019 and 2020 NBA MVP? In addition to sporting excellence and the throne of universal reference that they occupy in their disciplines, there is an Olympic reason that mobilizes both Antoine Dupont and Giannis Antetokounmpo, without ignoring Kylian Mbappé and Novak Djokovic: in recent weeks they put the spotlight on Paris 2024, either to ensure their presence or to continue running.

In days of momentous officialization, the appointment of Stefanos Ntouskos, Greek Olympic rowing champion in Tokyo 2020, as the person in charge of lighting the torch came after the ratification of Dupont as a member of the rugby 7 team for the next Games, to which France already has a secure place as host. Like the Australian Michael Hooper, he will begin the demanding transition from Rugby XV to the Olympic specialty.

At 27 years old and after the early disappointment at the World Cup before his people, the top reference for the French oval ball, also nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year in 2022 and 2023, will resign to the 2024 Six Nations in order to win a medal in the capital. Although the World Seven Series season launches on December 2, Dupont is expected to debut in the North American stage in late February or early March.

Regarding his presence, coach Jérôme Daret acknowledged that he imagines him capable of playing in any position. In addition, the door has not yet been closed on the possibility of incorporating other players from the XV, a strategy that, for example, was not enough for New Zealand to take first place in Rio 2016.

Rieko Ioane, in Rio 2016. The All Blacks Sevens were eliminated in the quarterfinals against Fiji.
Credit. Rio 2016
Rieko Ioane, in Rio 2016. The All Blacks Sevens were eliminated in the quarterfinals against Fiji. Credit. Rio 2016

The situation of Giannis Antetokounempo currently inhabits the field of personal desire. A wish that he made explicit before the microphones in the preview of last Friday’s match between Milwaukee and Washington: “After the season, I’ll try to qualify for Paris... if we manage to get there, I’ll be excited to be there”. Greece, absent from the men’s Olympic basketball tournament since London 2012 inclusive, will seek a ticket in one of the four pre-Olympic qualifiers next July.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, who will try to be the first American to win four Olympic gold medals in basketball, rule the list of North American stars who had already scored for Paris 2024, in search of the fifth consecutive consecration.

Giannis Antetokounempo has been international with Greece since 2014. He was never an Olympian.
Credit. REUTERS
Giannis Antetokounempo has been international with Greece since 2014. He was never an Olympian. Credit. REUTERS

Less than eight months after the flask turned on, the possibility of Kylian Mbappé being selected as one of the three players over 23 years of age remains firm, although without sound advances. His enthusiasm in the middle of the year yielded against the current moderation: “It would be a pleasure to play, but it’s my employer who decides,” he warned during the last qualifying window for the European Championship, alluding to the objections that Paris Saint-Germain could impose. France’s will to count on him is as strong as that of Thomas Bach to have Lionel Messi as a badge.

The slowdown in the striker’s speech clashes with the growing ambition of Novak Djokovic, who once again revealed not only that his participation will be a fact, but also that his list of goals for 2024 is headed by winning in Paris, the city that will continue to be in the limelight and full of figures.