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Tribute to Paralympians

A month after their return from Athens, the French Paralympic medallists participated in a marathon of honour between The Elysée Palace, City Hall and the French National Olympic Committee. Their hosts, Jacques Chirac, Bertrand Delanoë, and Henri Sérandour paid tribute to their performances in Athens, whilst emphasizing the ambitious character of the Paris 2012 Paralympic project.
Paralympics athletes & B. Delanoë - © J. Millet - Paris 2012
Paralympics athletes received by B. Delanoë. (© J. Millet - Paris 2012)
- The Paralympic Games in 2012
- The Elysee Palace
- The City Hall
- The French National Olympic Committee
- The French Paralympic Federation

While decorating the 71 athletes, Jacques Chirac was eager to show his admiration "for their great victories". "This is a representation of optimism and courage.  It is a beautiful life lesson you have given us, said the President.

Jacques Chirac reiterated his determination to win the 2012 Games, as previously stated on the 28 th of September with the French Olympic medallists.  He underlined the "particularly ambitious" character of the 2012 Paralympic Games project: "The issue of accessibility has been thoroughly taken into account (...), and includes all the environment of the Games not only the sports venues". 

He emphasized that through the success of the 2012 Paralympic Games it is a wish to "increase the integration of people with a disability into the French society".  He went on to say, "For our country, this is a national cause and, as you know, a cause very close to my heart".

After the first ceremony, the French Paralympians met at the City Hall.  The Mayor of Paris and President of Paris 2012, Bertrand Delanoë warmly thanked the champions for their performances, and said they were a model for French society.  "The Games are the opportunity to multiply by ten the investment Paris makes to improve accessibility throughout the city.  In 2012 the Paralympic athletes will be at the very heart of the Games", he said.

The medallists from Athens were then taken by André Auberger, president of the French Paralympic Federation, to the National Olympic Committee Headquarters.  "This house is your house", said their host Henri Sérandour, awarding them the medal of honour of the National Olympic Committee.  "This is a great moment of pride, your results and your behaviour have been a great example", declared the President of the National Olympic Committee.   

The 141 Paralympic athletes in Athens won 74  medals in total: 18 Gold, 26 Silver and 30 Bronze, placing France in 6 th place.
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