Photo: OIS/Joe Toth
As the curtain came down on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, Paris 2024 chief executive officer Etienne Thobois was already planning how to meet, or exceed the ‘very high bar’ set in Japan over the past fortnight.
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His ambitious vision for Paris 2024 combines a physical transformation of the French capital and a shifting of perceptions within it.
“We want Paris 2024 to be the most open Games and the most inclusive,” Thobois told the Olympic Information Service in Tokyo.
“It will be the Games that brings sports to more people, from every part of society.
“There are a lot of people with disability who feel they are not being included in society, and there are a lot of people without disability who don’t know how to deal with people with disability. Sport can play a fantastic role in changing that.”
Eye-catching plans for Paris 2024 include holding the Opening Ceremony on the River Seine and using the Chateau de Versailles as an equestrian venue.
The famed Roland-Garros Stadium will be the centrepiece of the sitting volleyball event.
Thobois believes that the key to securing a meaningful Paralympic Games legacy is accessibility – from updating facilities in the Paris suburbs to creating more opportunities for people to become Paralympians.
“It’s part of a process: at the end of it is the incredible performance of the athletes. But it starts with accessibility, and that’s universal,” Thobois said.
“It’s about people with disability having easy access to sports venues and sports equipment, and it’s also about people with all kinds of impairment being able to join society as a whole.”
The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will take place on August 28 to September 8, 2024.