The French Don’t Want the Games to Be a Stand-alone Entity

As the Paris Olympics Promise New Ambition, Old Anxieties Intensify

Tucked away in the heart of the French capital’s Olympic bid, the Olympic Stadium may be the smallest venue in the Games. But within its walls, the future of the Games as we know them is about to be defined—just as it is to be defined for much of the rest of the planet.

A small but growing number of French politicians don’t want “Olympic Games” to be a stand-alone entity.

Sitting alone in the front row of the stadium is a young woman no more than 20 years old. She is dressed in green, her hair a little wild and long. She is carrying a guitar and plays it through the stadium, punctuating the end of each song with a few simple words.

It is early afternoon in a Paris that is in the grip of an Olympic fever. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has just announced the decision of the French hosts to put an offer on the table to “reconsider” their choice and to instead bring in the Olympic Games (OG) of 2024.

The final part of this bid has been a long time coming, and it has been a long time in the making. The only two major sponsors, the French and Italian flags, have been the ones who have consistently stood in the way of an expansion, a move that would have seen the Games expand to an “Olympic Stadium” that would have dwarfed the current Olympic Village. The French and Italian flags have said no to the idea of an expansion. Now, the IOC—the only organization that can reject the bid—has finally given them the green light.

But the French have yet to open their arms wide to embrace the idea of the Games expanding to the size it needs to be in order to succeed. At a time when the rest of the planet is taking note of the Olympic Games, the French have spent the last three decades trying to maintain the size of the

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