before the Olympics, sport as a tool for social innovation

Suspended almost 15 m high, Ibrahim shows a radiant smile. He didn’t hesitate for a second, mastered the climbing wall without trembling and, once at the top, enjoyed the view without the slightest dizziness. The descent, well wedged in his harness, is obviously too fast, but he has to leave room for his comrades.

They are six students from the Sylvain-Dauriac primary school in Bagatelle, a popular district of Toulouse, who are doing their subjects in the discipline this Wednesday afternoon at the Quéfets high school in Tournefeuille, in a suburb of the Pink City. But it’s a small revolution, made possible thanks to Paris 2024.

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The project in which these children are participating is part of the “Impact 2024” program, which has been supporting initiatives of several players, athletes and institutions for two years. An endowment fund was set up for this purpose. In 2021, 4.9 million euros were spent on 224 projects. This year there will be around 250, sharing an envelope of 5.8 million euros.

“With our brand, we make projects visible that have to show how sport can change lives. underlines Damien Combredet-Blassel, Sport & Society Manager at Paris 2024. We also want them to help train the different actors to work together and, if possible, that such best practices perpetuate beyond the Games. »

“Broaden Horizons”

The Occitania league project, endowed with 42,000 euros, of the French Mountain and Climbing Association supports this claim. “In the beginning there is the desire to introduce young people from the neighborhood to our discipline, far away from their concerns, to broaden their horizons and lead them into the mountains”, reveals Anne Geernaert, the director of the regional FFME league.

Originally, the desire was to connect schools from two priority districts of urban policy (QPV), Bagatelle in Toulouse and Laubadère in Tarbes (Hautes-Pyrénées), and to allow regular exchanges in places that give access to the many pleasures of the mountains (Hiking, climbing, via ferratas, etc.).

But the realization testifies to the difficulties encountered in such a project. “We had misjudged the resistance to the health pass in the neighborhoods and therefore could not start the campaign in autumn 2021 with middle school students because they did not have access to the gyms,” illustrated by Anne Geernaert.

At the end of winter, after a successful inauguration, more than a hundred students showed interest in a mobile climbing block at the university. But if you’re planning a trip to the world-class Tournefeuille climbing wall, “We fell during Ramadan and only two students emerged. also tells Ethel Barnabé, former CPE of the college and experienced mountaineer at the origin of the project. We therefore approached the elementary school CM1-CM2, who took advantage of the windfall! “.

“Promote perseverance, the greatest challenge”

On the Tarbes side, it is the inauguration of a new climbing wall, postponed by six months, that has also postponed the project. Its sponsors are raring to go to really bring it to life next school year. “It’s a long job to captivate young people, to convince parents to trust us too, remembers Ethel Barnabe. On our territories it takes a lot of energy to register an activity in the long term. Promoting endurance is our greatest challenge. »

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In Tarbes, Marlène Margui, relay of the project and member of the Roc & Pyrène club, wants to add another dimension to the matter: to convince certain mothers in addition to young people. “To form a group of women and ultimately face a common challenge on an ascent in the summer of 2023, explains the host, who is also active in city politics. There are many obstacles to overcome, especially the cultural weight that doesn’t make it easier for women in these neighborhoods to access sport, but I want to believe in it. And I hope to show with this pilot project that it is possible and to inspire other clubs. » Experiment and then expand, that is the challenge for Paris 2024.

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Do better with a disability

Paris 2024 also wants to provoke with its impact program “interesting leverage”says his manager Damien Combredet-Blassel: “If we invest €1, we can raise €3 from other partners. » As of 2020, Paris 2024 has had 700,000 beneficiaries of its program. To continue and accentuate an effort for projects of access to sports practice for the disabled, “currently our weak point”recognizes the General Delegate. “Projects around disabilities require a lot of time, skills and special equipment, which explains the difficulty in bringing them to light, tip Apolline Vedrenne, Paralympic Officer in Occitania. But next year Paris 2024 is supposed to put a special focus on disabled sports. »

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