Submitted by International Olympic Committee
The Olympic Games may be a year away, but the commitment to “get France moving more”, that Paris 2024 made before it was awarded the Games, is already bringing benefits for people in the country.
World Health Organization (WHO) figures show that globally, one in four adults do not meet recommended levels of physical activity. Meanwhile in France, according to the National Observatory of Physical Activity (ONAPS), 37 per cent of children between 6 and 10 years old and 73 per cent of 11-to-17 year-olds do not reach the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Forty-seven per cent of women and 29 per cent of men are also physically inactive.
In April 2023, Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet drew attention to this “real health hazard” for French society. “A sedentary lifestyle kills – and the solution is simple: It is to move for at least one hour per day if you are a child or teenager, and 30 minutes for adults. Paris 2024 represents a unique opportunity to get everyone in France moving.”
The programme to get everyone in France moving more is reaching, as a priority, schoolchildren, women, people with disabilities, senior citizens, and other groups who tend to be less active or socially excluded. Various initiatives have been implemented, some piloted in the Paris region, others already national.
Moving more at school
Paris 2024 has successfully advocated for a daily 30-minute exercise period in French primary schools. The pilot was launched in September 2020 in Seine-Saint-Denis – the Games’ priority zone for regeneration, situated northeast of Paris, where the Olympic Village and new-build Aquatic Centre are located – as well as two other districts.
At the start of the 2022-23 academic year, the French education ministry began rolling out the initiative nationally for 4.2 million pupils. By summer 2023, nearly half of schools had received a sports kit, offered by Paris 2024 and the National Agency for Sports, to implement the 30-minute daily physical activity, with all 35,500 primary schools due to take part by 2024.
Children and young people from nursery school to university level have also been involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Week. This is an annual event that, since 2017, promotes the Olympic and Paralympic values as well as physical activity. More than one million pupils and students were involved in the 2023 edition, and there have been more than three million participations since 2017.
1, 2, 3 Swim!
Seine-Saint-Denis was also chosen for a programme to teach children – and adults – to swim. Before Paris 2024 was elected as an Olympic host, half of the 11-year-olds in this district did not know how to swim. Since 2020, the programme has allowed 6,200 children to successfully acquire the essential swimming and water safety skills.
The programme involves the installation of temporary pools in the targeted areas, recruitment of qualified trainers, and free swimming and water safety lessons offered to children and adults alike. In 2023, 1,2,3 Swim! is spreading across the whole country, with 38 projects in place that will allow more than 20,000 children to learn how to swim.
Moving more in cities
Town planning influences how people go about their lives in urban areas. Paris 2024 is promoting “active design”, which encourages spontaneous and free movement, in public spaces and buildings.
Six pioneer municipalities have been chosen as demonstrators to showcase how active design promotes mobility, sport and play. For example, Saint-Dizier in north-east France has transformed streets and public areas. It has created a pump track and redesigned a schoolyard, with three more to follow in summer 2023.
In many French schools, break time areas are designed in a way that makes them more suited to be used by boys to play football, which limits girls to peripheral areas. Thanks to the National Sport Agency (ANS), one million euros has been invested to transform 200 school grounds. The aim is to create more inclusive, shared spaces, and promote gender equality and games for all.
“At more than a year before the Opening Ceremony, Paris 2024 is already changing lives through sport,” said Marie Sallois, IOC Director for Sustainability. “The Games’ ambition to get the whole of France move more reflects the goal of Olympic Agenda 2020+5, which is to ensure the Olympic Games bring lasting benefits to the host communities. It also reflects the recent Let’s Move campaign, in which we joined forces with the World Health Organization to help address the global issue of physical inactivity.”
Moving more at work
Working adults are being targeted by the #GoFor30! Campaign. It encourages employees to do a 30-minute workout in their workplace. By June 2023, 7,600 employees of the Games’ commercial partners had taken part in the challenge.
Staff at the Paris 2024 headquarters have also got the message. Previously, 31 per cent of employees said they used the stairs rather than escalators. With the use of active design in the Organising Committee headquarters, that rose to 58 per cent, and an independent evaluation showed that stair use increased by 43 per cent.
The wider impact of sport
Participation in sport has many positive impacts – from mental health and children’s concentration in class, to engaging socially isolated and the most inactive groups, which include girls and people with disabilities. Other projects, some supported by the Impact 2024 fund for social innovation through sport, are reaching those groups.
By 2024, a network of 3,000 “para-hosting” sports clubs will receive training and support to help them engage more people with disabilities in their activities.
Meanwhile, sports clubs hosting more than 600 pre-Games training camps are sharing in a 20-million euro state fund for development and renovation.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a not-for-profit independent international organisation that is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.4 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
As the leader of the Olympic Movement, the IOC acts as a catalyst for collaboration between all parties of the Olympic family, from the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the International Sports Federations (IFs), the athletes and the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) to the Worldwide Olympic Partners, broadcast partners and United Nations (UN) agencies, and shepherds success through a wide range of programmes and projects. On this basis, it ensures the regular celebration of the Olympic Games, supports all affiliated member organisations of the Olympic Movement and strongly encourages, by appropriate means, the promotion of the Olympic values.
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