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Has Paris really already lost the 2024 Olympic Games?

Published on 07 May 2024

For a country and a city, the Olympic Games are a unique opportunity to shine and leave a legacy. But with Paris 2024 only a few weeks away, France and Paris are struggling to project a positive image…

​Paris hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer provides France with a huge geopolitical opportunity. Staging the world’s biggest sporting mega-event can boost a nation’s image, change perceptions of it, and help it project soft power around the globe.

Former French president François Hollande was credited with instigating the successful bid to stage the 2024 Games, 100 years after Paris was last host in 1924. But it is Emmanuel Macron who has enjoyed taking up the mantle in his quest to present a new vision of France.

Some believe Macron being president was just what the Games needed, given his apparent quest to transform France into a more outward-looking, progressive nation. Indeed, Macron has proved adept at playing soft power games through sport (including his efforts to keep the footballer Kylian Mbappé playing in France).

A failed revolution?

And certain features of the upcoming Games certainly look progressive, from breakdancing and BMX racing events on the Place de la Concorde, to swimmers in the River Seine, and androgynous mascots. All of these elements seem to illustrate how Paris wants the world to see it – as open, welcoming and contemporary – and reflect Macron’s promise to be a “revolutionary in a suit”.
But this is where France’s Olympic plans may begin to unravel. Because many see Macron as more of a discordant disruptor than a great reformer.[...]

Read the full article on SKEMA's Thinkforward website

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