To analyse. Three years before the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris (JOP), a state of emergency has been declared for high-level French sport. President Macron recalled this, on September 13 at the Elysee Palace, during the ceremony in honor of the Tokyo medalists, urging the Blues to “Do a lot more” in 2024. Because, yes, there is an emergency. With only 33 medals obtained this summer in Japan, the French team is not in orbit to succeed “its” Games.
While all the nations which organized the Olympic Games at home shone in the previous edition – the best example remains the United Kingdom, which, since Beijing in 2008, no longer comes out of the top 5 medals – France, she did less well (42 podiums in Rio in 2016). And it is not the triumph of team sports that masks the cracks of the French high level.
Emmanuel Macron therefore sounded the general mobilization. His speech somewhat shook the world of sport which, this September 13, between two small fours, saw a takeover by the State. “A locker room speech”, relativizes Claude Onesta, the strong man of the National Sports Agency (ANS) – in charge of high performance, under the supervision of the Minister for Sports -, who had just handed over to the Elysee its assessment and recommendations for Paris 2024.
More directive management
In his “ordinance”, the former successful coach of French handball prescribes better support for athletes “Medalists” in Paris in 2024, a “coaches plan” aimed at securing the services of the best coaches, French and foreign (salary increase in support), and, among the other avenues mentioned, a more directive management of the federations which have failed in Japan.
While some “federates” saw it as a form of supervision, Claude Onesta prefers to speak of” accompaniement “. “When a ‘car’ went into the wall in Tokyo, it shouldn’t just tell us that the results will be better tomorrow, we will make sure to drive it together”, warns the Toulousain. The aim is to target the French Athletics Federation, which has been confined for more than two years by structural problems – the search for a national technical director and a director of high performance – and the poverty of sports results – a single medal in Tokyo.
But, to drive two, it is still necessary to release the handbrake. However, for four years, the high level has stalled. After obtaining the Games, in September 2017, it would have been necessary to decree a Marshall Plan at seven years for French sport. Instead, Claude Onesta, already him, was commissioned by Laura Flessel, then Minister of Sports, to draw up the inventory of high performance.
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