Olympic and Paralympic Week starts in France with inclusion as main theme

Olympic and Paralympic Week aims to introduce more people to sports and shift young people's perceptions of disability 03 Apr 2023
Two young girls, one with a blindfold, holding a ball, and the other looking back, participate in an event during Olympic and Paralympic Week.
One million students across France are expected to participate in the activities planned around Olympic and Paralympic Week in April 2023.
ⒸParis 2024
By Paris 2024 and IPC

As the milestone of 500 days until the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games approaches, Olympic and Paralympic Week (OPW/SOP) has started in France around the theme of inclusion.

This year's event is an opportunity to fight against disability discrimination and promote awareness of the Paralympic Games, Para athletes, and various Para sports among young people. Moreover, the OPW will emphasise the importance of physical activity in the daily lives of students across all levels of the French education system.

In total, more than 7,000 schools and institutions will be involved with one million students participating.

“With 500 days to go before the first Summer Paralympic Games in France, we have chosen to dedicate this year's OPW to a theme that is important to us: inclusion," said Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024 Organising Committee. "With 21.8% of discrimination related to disability, it is crucial to fight against stereotypes and misconceptions from an early age.”  

Bringing sport and schools together

Since 2017, Olympic and Paralympic Week has been implemented across all levels of the French education system, as well as in social and medico-social institutions (ESMS) that choose to participate.

This annual event provides an opportunity for the education community to explore the potential of sports in support of teaching. Its primary goal is to raise students' awareness of the Olympic and Paralympic values while promoting the discovery of Olympic and Paralympic disciplines. Additionally, the OPW aims to shift young people's perceptions of disability by encouraging them to view it from a new perspective.

The initiative was launched in partnership with Paris 2024 and the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports. 

“This week will illustrate the reality of the inclusive school, through more than 3,000 projects led by teaching teams across France, in collaboration with the Paris 2024 Organising Committee and our athletes," said Pap Ndiaye, Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports.

"With an adapted education system, we guarantee the 430,000 students with disabilities in schools the ability to learn and be assessed at the baccalaureate like all other students in France. During physical education classes in secondary school, we offer all students the opportunity to discover Para sports, now available in official programmes, with the aim to change their perspective on disability.”

World Health Day

World Health Day will also take place during Olympic and Paralympic Week. Celebrated on 7 April every year, it will be an opportunity to take action towards addressing global public health challenges.

The "30 Minutes of Daily Physical Activity" initiative is a significant step in this direction, promoting physical activity from an early age. The positive effects of this programme have already been observed by participating teachers, including an improved classroom environment through enhanced concentration among students.

Numerous events across France and abroad 

A multitude of events will take place across France throughout this week. In the Paris region, an opening ceremony for the launch day of the 2023 OPW will be held at the Zénith de la Villette, featuring the "Dance of the OPW" performed by 1,300 students in the presence of Pap Ndiaye, Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports; Amélie Oudéa-Castera, Minister of Sport, Olympic and Paralympic Games; Geneviève Darrieussecq, Minister Responsible for Persons with Disabilities; Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024; Brigitte Henriquès, President of the CNOSF; and Marie-Amélie Le Fur, President of the CPSF.

Activities centred around the theme of inclusion will also be offered in Nice, Marseille, and Besançon.

Beyond France, establishments associated with the Terre de Jeux 2024 embassies will also participate in the celebration. Over 80 French schools and high schools located worldwide will be involved in the OPW by hosting inclusive sports activities and welcoming athletes, as well as through other activities.