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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) President Denis Masseglia is hopeful that the nation will be able to achieve a target of between 12 and 15 gold medals at Rio 2016.

The 68-year-old made the claim during France’s 100 days to go to Rio 2016 celebrations here today at the Trocadero by the iconic Eiffel Tower, with French athletes, key members of the French sports movement and senior figures from the Paris 2024 Bid Committee in attendance.

Should the team secure 15 gold medals at the Games it would match their record total for an Olympics outside of France, having previously managed the feat back at Atlanta 1996.

Masseglia also claimed that around 60 of the 258 athletes, who have already secured a place on the team, were considered medal contenders and is hopeful they could match their tally of 41 medals from Beijing 2008.

Masseglia expressed his confidence that the Olympics would prove a success, despite preparations in Brazil being overshadowed by political and economic crisis, as well as concerns over the Zika virus and water pollution fears,

“I think that what is important is to have confidence in the Brazilian population and organisation,” he said.

“They have made a lot of thoughts, which are very significant and it is possible to communicate these qualities, rather than to say that at this time we have a preoccupation and worry about the situation, economic and political crisis and so on.

“The Games in Rio will be fantastic Games and it is important to recognise the people and not to speak about the problems.”

The celebration event also saw the French kit for both the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics unveiled by the CNOSF partners, Lacoste.

It was also revealed that the athletes would vote for their Fagbearer for the Opening Ceremony of the Games, following the announcement of the full French delegation on July 14.

National Federations will be able to nominate one man and one woman, with around 52 candidates expected to be put up for a vote.

Rio 2016-bound athletes will have the opportunity to electronically place their vote, with the winner chosen to lead the team out at the Games.

Prior to the event, Paris 2024 staged the second meeting of their 24-strong Athletes’ Commission, who discussed their mobile application which will allows athletes to communicate with their bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It is claimed that the athletes will also play a key role in a Paris 2024 Observer Programme at Rio 2016, where it is hoped that the bid will be able to listen and learn from the organising committee a live Games scenario.

Athletes will be provided with a survey after the Games in an attempt to gain insight into their experience in Rio and use ideas which could be implemented into Paris’ bid.

“Athletes’ know what it takes to compete at the highest level, they are the heartbeat of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and this is why we have placed them at the centre of the Paris 2024 bid with clearly defined, decision making roles,” said Paris 2014 co-chairman Tony Estanguet, a triple Olympic canoeing champion.

“Our ambition is to deliver a Games in 2024 for the athletes, by the athletes.”

“It’s great to see such incredible athletes enjoying the moment and celebrating 100 days to go Rio 2016 here in Paris.

“On behalf of everybody at Paris 2024 I’d like to wish all of them the very best of luck.”

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