Paris, September 28, 2004 – French President Jacques Chirac today reaffirmed his determination and commitment
to stage the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, as he decorated France’s
forty-eight Olympic Medallists from Athens 2004 at a reception at the Elysée Palace.
All medallists received high order decorations and the first time Gold Medallists
received the ‘Legion d’Honneur’, the highest recognition of the French Republic.
In the presence of senior French sports and political figures, including Prime
Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, President Chirac said:
"The candidacy of Paris is the candidacy of the entire nation. You can rely on
my absolute determination to support it, to defend it and, with all of you, to
"I know that French men and women are ready to offer to the Games their passion
for sport, their experience in organising major sporting events, their love of
celebration and their curiosity for talent from all around the world".
"France is ready for this magical truce where all nations are gathered not to
fight but to surpass their limits".
President Chirac told the French medal winners from last month’s Games in Athens:
"More than a century after the resurrection of the Olympic Games by Baron Pierre
de Coubertin, France is ready once again to become the country of Olympism. Paris
possesses numerous assets which have made it the world’s premier tourist destination
for many years, including the unique character of its monuments, the wealth of
sports facilities, the accommodation capabilities and exceptional quality transport
"Most important is the active support received from the entire country: from
the public authorities, thanks to the combined efforts of the State, the Ile-de-France
Region and the City of Paris ; from the French sporting movement ; from the business
world, thanks to the contributions of our major companies ; and above all, from
the French men and women who would do everything to ensure the 2012 Olympics would
not only create an exceptional sporting experience, but also unity around the
universal values of solidarity and humanity which are the heart and soul of the
President Chirac began his presentation by paying tribute to the French Paralympic
team in Athens saying, "It will be my pleasure to welcome our Paralympic team
here [at the Elysée Palace] before the end of October".
Leading Paris 2012 officials were also present to congratulate the medallists,
including Bertrand Delanoë, Mayor of Paris and President of Paris 2012; Jean-François
Lamour, French Sports Minister and Henri Sérandour, President of the French National
French International Olympic Committee members, Jean-Claude Killy, Guy Drut and
Alain Danet, along with Philippe Baudillon, CEO of the Paris Bid, were also among
President Chirac praised the Paris 2012 team by saying, "I would like to applaud
the Paris 2012 CEO, Philippe Baudillon, as well as his entire team, who are preparing
an ambitious and innovative project".
Following the award ceremony, the Olympic Medallists were escorted to the Town
Hall for a Paris 2012 reception hosted by Bertrand Delanoë, Mayor of Paris and
President of Paris 2012.
Paris 2012 Global Media Office
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Within France, dial 00.800.2012.2012