These French athletes who should shine at the Olympic Games

These French athletes who should shine at the Olympic Games

The medal season is shaping up to be a prolific one for French athletes… if tradition is to be believed. Host countries are used to outperforming at the Olympic Games. A quick leap in time is enough to convince yourself of this. Between the 2004 edition in Athens and the 2008 edition in Beijing, China went from 63 to 100 distinctions. Japan, the last country to host the Games, increased its medal record to 58.

The secret of these successes is simple: as the Olympic Games approach, host countries invest more in sport. In eight years, the resources allocated to high performance have increased from 50 to 114 million euros in France. Money certainly does not guarantee good results, but it contributes to them. The most rewarded countries systematically have a strong sports policy.

The host nation can also count on a more generous quota of athletes than the other participants. The French delegation benefits from automatic qualifications and will have about a hundred more competitors than in the last edition. More athletes offer more opportunities to win a title. Especially since the host country also has the possibility of choosing four of the thirty-two disciplines on the program. France has selected surfing, climbing, skateboarding and breaking, events in which its chances of medals are serious. Last advantage: in sports, playing at home and therefore in front of your home crowd increases your chances of victory. Finally, this stimulation is added to a better knowledge of the local environment, both in terms of infrastructure, climate and even schedules.

These advantages also motivate some athletes to come and swell the ranks of the French delegation. The French water polo team has thus managed to capture its talents, while some of them often went abroad to a country with a more favorable environment.

90% reliable target

So what can France hope for? The President of the Republic wants it to finish among the five most decorated nations, a rank not achieved since 1996. Emmanuel Macron adds a goal of around fifty medals. “We will do more,” extolled former judoka David Douillet in April. With other colleagues, sports economist Wladimir Andreff has been working since 2017 on a model capable of predicting the number of awards. According to the latest edition, it is 90% reliable. “The average value for France is 48 awards for Paris 2024, with a confidence interval of between 43 and 56 medals,” reveals the researcher. Being the host country is one of the three main variables in this model, along with the country’s population and GDP; unlike its political situation. To achieve a historic score, the French team will be able to rely on its sure values. An overview of the Blues who should get us off our sofas this summer.

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