14 November 2023


An interview with CEO Cedric Dermée


Following the Senior European Championships in Montpellier, France, a selection of Adidas sponsored athletes were train-bound with the Adidas team. Joining the force in Paris was Adidas CEO, Cedric Dermée at the Racing Club de France. Before the real work began, the athletes were treated to a catered bus tour of the capital, passing the Champ-de-Mars Arena where they will be competing for Olympic glory in a matter of months. Dermée was glad to host the superstars which included legend and Adidas original, Ilias Iliadis.

Firstly, it was time for reflection on the European Championships where Adidas could boast 23 medalists, six of which were gold.

From the Adidas perspective, you know we have a huge advantage, we are judoka, when we choose an athlete, we know what we are doing. We make the best choices, we look at results, the personalties, the best charismatic profiles and most importantly, their professionalism. 

Team France is just one of the teams sponsored by Adidas, but given they’ll be performing on home soil, Cedric is willing their success.

We hope for the best for the French team, I am French, I was born in Paris, France is so deeply engrained in me that I hope for only the best. For me, the team is very important, I was in the team myself and it is a big part of my life, so I think I have a special link with the French team, but I hope for the best for all the athletes in Adidas. I know there are teams like Republic of Korea, Great Britain, Italy, Georgia, and I want the best for all of them. The Olympic Games is a unique moment for judo and these athletes. 

One of the highlights for Adidas during the European Championships was the debut of the eco responsible judogi.

We are delighted with the eco responsible judogi, because it was the first time that the judogi was seen on the tatami in competition in the Montpellier European Championships. The judogi was perfect but we are not surprised because we took more than one year to realise this judogi, but we are very happy and very proud to be able to do something for the environment. We can see that we are going in the right direction now for the future generations. Our dream for the Olympic Games would be to have 100% of athletes in eco sustainable judogi.

With the Olympic Games only a matter of months away, there is still much work to be done in terms of promotion, and in Paris, the Adidas team worked tirelessly to pack in as much as they could with the top stars.

We have a good team in Paris, to be able to organise all of these top athletes is not easy, especially when they have big competitions, training camps and family life. It was a great surprise that the European Judo Union were able to join us, it adds great value to our work, because the more you can see judo, the better it is. It was a great organisation and the result will be very good. 

You can see there is a lot to work with, judo has changed a lot, you can see through the athletes, and now they are more and more skilled in their performance. You can see in their bodies, in their judo, I think I see more ippons. For me, judo everywhere in the world is small compared to others, but it is strong. Everyone knows this sport. 

Speaking with the Adidas CEO, the Eiffel Tower and more importantly for judo fans, athletes and the community, is that the Champ-de-Mars Arena is but a stones throw away, and this is particularly magical for Cedric,

I think Racing Club de France is special, my father started as a white belt in this club, as did I, we had the same sensei. This club was two-time European Champion, and created many medals in the Olympic Games. In the earlier women’s world championships we had Brigitte Deydier take gold in 1982, ’84 and ‘86. To have the arena only 800m from my club is incredible, it is so special to my heart.

Finally, a fun question, France versus Japan, 2024, what will happen?

I can say only France of course! I am French and I am Adidas, so this is my only answer. It won’t be easy against Japan, they will want to take revenge, they are strong, but don’t forget we have other strong teams like Georgia and Uzbekistan, only they can have the last word. 

Author: Thea Cowen