Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has highlighted the pre-emptive legacy work being undertaken by Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 in his opening speech to the Smart Cities & Sport Summit meeting here.
Bach praised the organisers of the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Games for starting to create their legacy in the “here and now.”
He referenced the commitment of the French Government, confirmed earlier this month, to making exercise mandatory in primary schools across the country.
He also highlighted PlayLA, a project aimed at providing “affordable and accessible sports programming to kids of all abilities throughout Los Angeles”, which was launched earlier this month.
“Seven years before the Los Angeles Games, the IOC and the Organising Committee have joined hands with the City of Los Angeles to launch an action called PlayLA.
“This has been made possible through the investment of $160 million (£120million/€142 million) by Los Angeles and the IOC.
“In Olympic cities around the world, we see similar long-lasting legacies in action, helping to make the lives of generations healthier.
“This demonstrates that you do not have to wait until the Olympic Games are over to benefit from their legacy and to create their legacy.
“Here again, you, the cities, are in the forefront of this post-pandemic world because it is in the large urban centres where we see these consequences impact lives and affect our communities the most.”
Bach added: “When it comes to sustainable development, Paris has over 90 per cent of existing or temporary facilities, and that percentage is even higher for Los Angeles.
“Sadly, just as the pandemic has highlighted the importance of physical activity, we see the number of people who do not do enough sport is shockingly high.
“In Europe, 46 per cent of the population never engages in physical activities or exercise, and worldwide, the picture is similar.
“The World Health Organization says that one in four of us globally does not engage in sufficient physical activity, and this goes against everything we have learned in this pandemic.
“We want people to have better access to sport to feel they belong and benefit from positive health impact.
“At the end of the day, when individuals lead healthy and active lives through sport, the community as a whole and society at large benefit as well.”
Reflecting on how sporting models have changed over the years, Bach said: “When I was young, you could not escape from sport.
“At one stage in your childhood you were confronted with it, and you played sport because there was nothing else to do.
“Now we are in competition for the time, in particular of the younger generation, and we have to find ways to confront this generation with the joy of sport.
“It is not about teaching them what is healthy, or how important it is to follow the rules.
“We have to confront them with the joy of sport and they can make their choice.
“And in order to confront them with this, we have to go where this young generation is – in the urban centres, the video games, the digital world.
“We cannot ignore this.
“We have to go there and then try to take them to the real world of sports and make them experience this joy.
“This is key.”
Mike Rowbottom, one of Britain’s most talented sportswriters, covered the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics as chief feature writer for insidethegames, having covered the previous five summer Games, and four winter Games, for The Independent. He has worked for the Daily Mail, The Times, The Observer, The Sunday Correspondent and The Guardian.
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The Football Association (The FA) is the governing body of football in England. We are responsible for promoting and developing the game at all levels; from grassroots through to the professional game, The Emirates FA Cup and the England International teams, and has two core assets: Wembley Stadium and St George's Park. The Video Content Manager will plan, create and oversee the delivery of unique and compelling digital content for The Emirates FA Cup channels.
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