Paris 2024: several French sports stars excluded by the criteria for designating standard bearers

“If I were standard bearer, I would be…” In the game of Chinese portraiture, the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) and its Paralympic counterpart (CPSF) do not lack resources

Paris 2024: several French sports stars excluded by the criteria for designating standard bearers

“If I were standard bearer, I would be…” In the game of Chinese portraiture, the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) and its Paralympic counterpart (CPSF) do not lack resources. On Wednesday March 13, the two authorities, meeting at a press conference, clarified the outlines of the pairs of athletes who will officiate this summer during the opening ceremonies of the Paris Games (one man and one woman for the Olympics, July 26 ; another couple for the Paralympics, on August 28), without revealing the identity of the four winners.

To find out, you will have to wait at least until July 8, the date of the last selection commission of the International Olympic Committee. A late unveiling date which finds its explanation in the chosen electoral process. After consultation with the high-level athletes' commission and the sports federations involved in the 2024 Games, the choice was made to let the athletes elect those who will represent them.

“The federations will play a major role since it is through them that applications to the CNOSF and the CPSF will be sent,” explained David Lappartient, the president of the CNOSF, present this Wednesday alongside Marie-Amélie Le Fur, the boss of the CPSF , and Astrid Guyart, the general secretary of the CNOSF. For the first time in France, all those selected for the Games will vote. » That’s some 560 Olympic athletes and around 260 Paralympic athletes.

For a long time, this vote fell to the CNOSF board of directors, or more recently to the athletes representing their sports. This time, the “one athlete, one vote” rule will prevail. A small revolution which dictates the “electoral calendar” unveiled on March 13 at the Maison du sport français, in Paris.

Athletes will have two months, from April 1 to May 31, to propose their name to their federation which will deem it appropriate, or not, to present it to the committees. The list of validated candidates will be announced publicly in mid-June, before the vote which should take place from July 8. The election will be based on the greatest number of votes received; in the event of a perfect tie, the oldest will win. “It is not because an athlete has a national and international reputation that he will want to run for office,” warns Astrid Guyart. It is an honor, but it is also a responsibility, and some athletes will simply want to focus on their performances. »

Three main eligibility criteria

To claim the status of flag bearer, athletes will have to fulfill several conditions, the first being to have already participated in an edition of the Games, a guarantee of experience for those who will be at the same time, according to Marie-Amélie Le Fur, “ captains of our French team” and “ambassadors who will speak” before and during the event. A condition which excludes footballer Kylian Mbappé, swimmer Léon Marchand or basketball player Victor Wembanyama, internationally recognized talents, but new to the Games.

Only athletes who have not already been flag bearers will be able to apply. This second criterion excludes two strong judokas from the list: Teddy Riner, who led the delegation to the Rio Games in 2016, and Clarisse Agbégnénou, who officiated in Tokyo in 2021.

Taking advantage of the publication of a survey (carried out between March 1 and 4) placing her in the lead to occupy this position among women, the Olympic champion reacted sharply on her X account: “There are the French and the figures who express a certain will and on the other hand people work behind the scenes to impose discriminatory conditions to designate the standard bearers. »

Sports ethics constitute a third filter, in particular to eliminate those implicated in doping cases. Finally, in the name of the richness of Olympic sport, the same federation will only be able to obtain one standard bearer, man or woman, at Paris 2024.

There remains a gray area – “a subject to be refined” according to David Lappartient – ​​whether or not the sanctions recorded in the criminal records of certain champions are taken into account. This dimension could put out of play, for example, the handball player Nikola Karabatic, convicted in a sports betting case.

These final arbitrations will be decided by March 18, assures the president of the CNOSF, date on which a “technical guide” on the designation of the flag bearers will be sent to each of the federations.