Exactly 175 days to go… Patrice ROGNON is one of the most sought-after Frenchmen at this Grand Slam event in Paris-Bercy. The 57-year-old is responsible – on the organiser’s side – for the 2024 Olympic judo tournament in Paris. Rognon has a team of over 140 people (20 full-time staff and 120 volunteers), who will ensure the smooth running of the 15 medal competitions in the Champ de Mars arena, just a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower.
How are you feeling, 175 days until the start of the Olympic judo tournament?
Patrice Rognon: “It’s getting serious. You know, I used to be a competitive athlete myself (European team champion, 2-time French champion). Just as the athletes are entering the decisive phase and the pressure is mounting, the pressure is also mounting for us organisers. The complete transport plan for the Games – for all sports, all 43 competition venues – has just been finalised. It’s an incredible dossier, very complex. So many stakeholders have to be taken into account: Athletes, coaches, officials, judges, media, medical staff, organisers, etc. For us, this is also the sign that the final countdown is about to begin.”
What’s coming up next?
Rognon: “In just under three months, at the end of April, we will start the refurbishment work in the Champ de Mars Arena. In other words, we will provide the necessary electricity capacity, after which we will start building the stands, delivering the furniture, etc. The arena will be officially handed over to the IOC and the IJF at the end of June. The outdoor areas, such as the media centre, will then be completed and put into operation…. Just a small detail: During the Olympic Games and the Paralympics, a total of four sports will be held in the arena (judo, wrestling, para-judo and wheelchair rugby), so different temperatures are sometimes required – between 17 and 22 degrees.”
How many people work for you and when?
Rognon: “My judo team comprises 20 full-time employees and a good 120 volunteers. They are all here on the three Grand Slam competition days. Paris-Bercy is an ideal test for the Olympics, even if you can’t compare the two tournaments because the conditions are completely different. Which brings us back to transport…”
Are tickets still available?
Rognon: “I don’t have the latest figures. But if there are, then there are only remaining tickets. The judo competition days will all be as good as sold out.”
To what extent can the Olympic Games be compared with the Grand Slam?
Rognon: “Of course there are parallels, but there are also many differences. The spectator capacity is smaller, the proximity of the spectators is greater. The Olympic tournament will comprise eight days of competition. The judo feeling is great in both cases, especially if the French team remains as successful as it has been recently. The Champ de Mars Arena will be buzzing. Just like this weekend in Bercy!”
Author: EJU Media