Au Jardin Public, un territoire de verdure au cœur de la cité.
Jardin Public, a patch of green in the heart of the city.
on the starting blocks
The whistle’s blowing in Lima, on September 13: will the Games be held in Los Angeles or Paris? As co-president of the Paris 2024 Athletes’ Committee alongside Marie-Amélie Le Fur, 28-year-old Teddy Riner has been a very committed pillar of Paris’s bid to host the 2024 Games. Air France has done its part, too, and is proud to have committed to the project as an official partner, and to associate its image with that of a France that’s ambitious and open to the world. We meet Riner, the French people’s favorite sports personality, and the CEO of the national airline, Jean-Marc Janaillac.
«The Olympic spirit is a yardstick for excellence among the athletes and the host cities.»
Questions for Jean-Marc Janaillac, CEO of AIR FRANCE KLM
In what way has Air France been supporting Paris’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games?
Bringing the Games to Paris is both a challenge and an ambition. It would be a real opportunity for sports and the Olympic spirit if Paris was chosen for the 2024 Games. The Olympic spirit is a global yardstick for excellence. Not only that of the athletes, but also that of the corporate partners and the host cities. At the end of June, Paris demonstrated that it was going all the way by staging striking events on the banks of the Seine and on the bridges. For 48 hours, the Olympic spirit came to the city, and they took it to the max! As president of AIR FRANCE KLM, I’ve made ten of the airline’s planes available, carrying the colors of Paris 2024, to promote Paris 2024. A total of 10,000 flights to disseminate the French Olympic project throughout the world.
What values do the airline and its employees share with sports and the Olympic spirit?
The Olympic and Paralympic Games have become the two biggest sporting events of our time in terms of the number of sports on the program, athletes present and nations brought together at the same time and the same place. But they are part of a broader contextthat of the Olympic movement, as a vehicle of openness and a better understanding of people for each other. At Air France, because of what we do, we feel close to the values promoted by the Olympic ideal: friendship, solidarity and fair play in, hopefully, a more peaceful world.
«It’s the enthusiasm of a city and a country that makes the Games extraordinary.»
Teddy Riner is eight times world champion, five times champion of Europe and double Olympic champion in judo. He is a legend in his sport and someone France can be proud of. What does this emblematic sporting career inspire in you?
Rising to a challenge, testing your limits. Overcoming your doubts to achieve your best at the right moment. Teddy Riner naturally embodies the values of judo: courage, modesty and self-control. The life of an elite athlete, in many sports, is inspirational and motivating. There are the long hours of physical and mental training, coping with injuries, the soul-searching, the choices, the sacrifices and the constant commitment in order to try and win a medal. He inspires young people and is involved in initiatives backing research into genetic diseases, which suggests a very humane person. His charisma and talent are considerable assets for our bid to host Paris 2024. I am very confident about the result of the vote in Lima on September 13.
Questions for Teddy Riner, Olympic champion and co-president of the Paris 2024 Athletes' Committee
You have already taken part in three Olympic Games. In your experience, what should an Olympic city embody for the Games to be a success?
The desire to host the world, and the pleasure in doing so. When you arrive in an Olympic capital you feel it straight away. If the population is supporting the event, you know that it will be a big, intense, unforgettable celebration. From morning to night, you feel as though you are in a special place, where you will experience great shared momentsyou feel it as soon as you land. At the airport.It’s the enthusiasm of a city and a country that makes the Games extraordinary, and which means people will always remember the host country. In this respect, London showed great commitment. It’s already a cosmopolitan city, but every English person showed how proud they were. In Brazil, the context was very different. I know that the Cariocas put their whole hearts into it, but they had so much ground to make up. They achieved miracles.
What is your finest Olympic memory?
London, the city of my first Olympic title. The day of the competition will remain etched in my memory forever. It was like a dream, everything flowed. And I also remember that I had the feeling I was competing at home because there were so many French supporters in the hall. There must be days like that in your life when you have the feeling you can achieve anything. It is to experience those moments that every top sportsman and sportswoman trains conscientiously and hard, day in and day out. It is our Holy Grail.
You are involved in the Paris 2024 bid and you are co-president with Marie-Amélie Le Fur of the Paris 2024 Athletes’ Committee. What has this meant to you, and what chance does Paris have?
I have learned a great deal and I have also devoted a lot of time to it. For the athletes at the heart of the project, it’s a reality, it’s not just done for show. We meet up regularly to exchange ideas, listen, discuss and make decisions. And each of us is committed to using the arguments, to promoting the advantages of our city among the athletes and sports personalities we encounter during our competitions, training courses or trips abroad. I discovered I was capable of making a speech in front of an assembly and adopting certain positions in public. Paris has every chance in the world. I don’t want to appear chauvinistic, but it is the most beautiful capital in the world, isn’t it? Every detail of the bid has been thought out with the aim of leaving the French a legacy and enabling them to make their mark in the history of the Olympic movement. Hopefully, everyone will remember the 2024 Paris Games with great enthusiasm.