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Paris 2024: 125 days before the Games, the organizers have mobilized volunteers

“We will have in our hands, friends, the whole world. » Jacques Brel’s voice vibrates. Then, Tony Estanguet says: “You are the faces of the Games. » Saturday March 23, in Arena Paris la Défense, in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine), the president of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop) faces some 20,000 people: it is the volunteers who will be mobilized this summer – there will be 45,000 in total. “I’ve been working on the event for ten years, it’s the strongest image”he assures, on stage.

With this first and, a priori, last Volunteer Convention, the organization intended to mark a significant stage in the preparation for Paris 2024, 125 days before the start of the Games. And arouse pride among these volunteers, presented as essential for welcoming athletes, spectators, and even journalists: 34,000 of them will take place in the competition sites, 8,000 will be assigned to the fleet of vehicles and 1,800 in train stations and airports.

Coming from all the departments, they are the lucky ones out of more than 300,000 candidates. One in two volunteers lives in a department that hosts an event. One in five is foreign, with 190 nationalities represented. A diversity highlighted by Alexandre Morenon-Condé, head of the Paris 2024 volunteer program and former volunteer at the Athens Games in 2004.

Read also | Paris 2024: “It’s a privilege” to be one of the 45,000 volunteers selected

A calendar which is becoming clearer, an outfit revealed

Among them, Philippe, a 62-year-old Parisian. Situated at the foot of the immense stage, he is looking forward to the Games. He is assigned to the Gare du Nord which is 20 minutes from his home. Housing will therefore not be a problem for him.

Before coming to the Convention, he did not know its schedule. Coming out of this, its deadlines and those of thousands of volunteers emerge: reception of the individual schedule and general online training in April, mission-specific training in June, finally, on-site training a few days before the start of mobilization.

This Convention was also an opportunity to present to the volunteers the outfit they will wear. Two clips, including a video provided by Grand Corps Malade, a description by Decathlon, a choreography: the room roared to discover the outfits planned.

The French equipment manufacturer has manufactured nearly a million parts in recycled polyester, 53% of which in France. A ” pride ” for the brand. Regarding the collection of the outfit, Decathlon ensures that all host cities will have a collection point. For Ile-de-France, a single address is planned.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers Paris 2024: multi-pocket vest and soft hat for the 45,000 Olympic volunteers

The question of housing not addressed

If the appearance and schedule of the 45,000 volunteers have become clearer, one subject was not mentioned at all during the two hours of the gathering: housing, which nevertheless concerns a certain number of volunteers, while the tension on the prices on the rental market during the summer soared.

We make a lot of friends when we come to this type of event”had advanced, in mid-January, Michel Cadot, the interministerial delegate to the Games, assuring that the volunteers will find accommodation through relationships.”

Luck smiled on Anys, a retired Dutch psychologist. While looking for accommodation in a group of volunteers on Facebook, he found it. For Festiye, originally from the Meuse and mobilized to serve athletes for swimming events, a friend in Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis) will host her.

Another constraint for these volunteers: transportation. He was not supported by Paris 2024 to attend the Convention. Nor will he be able to return to Paris at the time of the competition.

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For Anne-Marie and Cécile, the Bordeaux-Nanterre trip was completely covered and they will probably have somewhere to sleep this summer. If they are mobilized… Because, at this stage, these Bordelaises are worried: for the moment, they are replacement volunteers and do not yet know if they will participate in the Games.

Without giving a precise figure, Paris 2024 ensures that they are “a few thousand” in this situation. An expectation that could turn into frustration. “We are invited to the Convention, we will do the training, but we don’t know if we will be selected at the end”laments Anne-Marie, a 50-year-old civil servant and former volunteer at Euro 2016 football, who points to a lack of information on this subject.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers Paris 2024: the Meuse volunteers, between “pride” and “struggle”

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