Interview with Marie-Amélie Le Fur, President of the French Paralympic and Sports Committee


Sporting Activities

Ancienne championne de para-athlétisme et présidente du Comité Paralympique et Sportif Français, Marie-Amélie Le Fur confie ses attentes pour les Jeux paralympiques de Paris 2024.
© T.Nguyen / CPSF - Ancienne championne de para-athlétisme et présidente du Comité Paralympique et Sportif Français, Marie-Amélie Le Fur confie ses attentes pour les Jeux paralympiques de Paris 2024.

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 15 February 2024, updated on 22 May 2024

With one year to go until the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Summer Games, what is Marie-Amélie Le Fur running for? President of the French Paralympic and Sports Committee since 2018, the former handisport athlete with nine medals is continuing her long-distance race with one mission: to make the Paris Games a springboard for handisport disciplines in France while advancing inclusion in society. Interview.

From 28 August to 8 September 2024, almost 4,400 disabled athletes will be taking part in the 17th Summer Paralympic Games. 23 sports and 549 events will be on the programme for 11 days of competition at the highest level, at 20 emblematic venues in Paris. With 9 medals to her name, including 3 gold, and three para-athletics world champion titles (100 m, 400 m and long jump), Marie-Amélie Le Fur, 34 years old, explains why you shouldn't miss this major sporting event and why you should take the opportunity to discover France! : From 28 August 2024, Paris will host the Paralympic Games for 11 days of great celebration. Sport and disability will be in the spotlight, with a single objective for the 4,400 para-athletes: to perform and even to achieve. What are you expecting from this 17th edition?

Marie-Amélie Le Fur : These Paralympic Games are an opportunity to make progress. For the environment, for employment, for the economy, for education... Our ambition is to put sport and the excitement of the Paralympic Games at the service of society. And to change the way people look at disability. We have a very clear challenge to meet in terms of communication and visibility. : So the aim is to raise the profile of disabled sport and the Paralympic Games?

M-A Le Fur : Yes, we need to make people want to watch the Paralympic Games and attend the competitions. By promoting para-athletes and their performances, we are opening up the field of possibilities to disabled people by showing them that sport is possible for them too! Regardless of the type of disability or the desire to practice, from leisure to high-level competition.

> The Paralympic Games are about top-level sport".

We are also showing what is possible for able-bodied people. We recognise the abilities of disabled people by developing an environment in which the rules have been adapted so that disability does not discriminate and can also give rise to performance. If this favourable environment is applied in the public space, in employment and at school, then it can enable everyone to express their skills.

Marie-Amélie Le Fur
© G. Mirand / CPSF - Marie-Amélie Le Fur : To use a sporting metaphor, can the Paralympic Games be a springboard for taking greater account of disability in society?

M-A Le Fur: We hope that the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will help to improve the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities. By raising awareness, the Games can accelerate accessibility, independence and well-being for people with disabilities. They can also be a springboard for employment, mobility and building construction. The other challenge is to ensure that there is greater dynamism in terms of access to sport. This desire exists in France today, even if there are still many systemic and financial obstacles, as well as self-censorship. The Paralympic Games, through their reach and media coverage, can help to break down these barriers. : 350,000 disabled people are expected to attend the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Will everything be ready in Paris in 2024 to welcome them?

M-A Le Fur: There's still a lot to be done, particularly on transport arrangements within the Paris inner suburbs to make it easier and safer for people in wheelchairs or with reduced mobility to get around. But we are working on it and there is a real awareness of the scale of the issue. The important thing is that everyone involved in the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games takes responsibility for truly including people with disabilities, whether they are athletes, coaches or spectators, who will be coming in huge numbers to the Paralympic Games and also to the Olympic Games. : When will tickets for the Paralympic Games go on sale?

M-A Le Fur : The Paralympic Games ticket office will open on 9 October 2023. 2.8 million tickets will go on sale in real time, without a draw, for France and the rest of the world. The sale will be preceded in Paris, on 8 October, by the second Paralympic Day, following the one already organised on 8 October 2022 at the Place de la Bastille. This will be a high point for meetings, demonstrations, introductions and exchanges that will take place in Paris and will enable future spectators and television viewers to get to know Para sports and Para athletes so that they can fully appreciate the fabulous feats that will be played out before their eyes in 2024. The programme will cover wheelchair basketball, cecifoot, para canoeing, boccia and seated volleyball... The idea is to immerse viewers in the Paralympic world, to showcase the athletes' performances and give them a close-up view of their level of commitment. There's no better way to understand Paralympic sports than to try them out, whether you're able-bodied or disabled.

Démonstration de para basket lors de la journée paralympique organisée à Paris en 2022.
© Paris 2024 - Démonstration de para basket lors de la journée paralympique organisée à Paris en 2022. : What can spectators expect at these Paralympic Games?

M-A Le Fur : These Paralympic Games should be extraordinary in terms of sporting performances. The last Para Athletics World Championships, held in Paris from 8 to 17 July 2023, demonstrated this with more than 30 world records. The visitors and spectators who will have the chance to watch the competitions in one of the 22 disciplines will be thrilled by everything we love about sport: the emotions of victory, but also the frustrations, disappointments and hard-fought battles to win medals, podiums and titles. What are the values of sport and Olympism that inspire you on a daily basis?

M-A Le Fur : Sport builds character, whether practised at a high level or for pleasure. For me, and even more so after my scooter accident in 2004 at the age of 15, it's a vehicle for individual emancipation. I became aware of the real limits of my disability and I realised that I could surpass myself without being stigmatised by society. Perseverance, surpassing oneself and questioning oneself seem to me to be essential values conveyed by sport and I share them. What are your preferred vacation destinations in France?

M-A Le Fur : In France, you're spoilt for choice! Personally, I'm more into the mountains than the sea, with a great attraction for the Alps, winter and summer alike, and a particular love of La Plagne, the resort where I regularly go to ski down the Paradiski slopes. In summer, the scenery is sumptuous. The high altitude lakes, the nature, the animals, the ibex, the marmots... it all enchants me. I have many memories of my childhood and youth in the Alps. In France, we don't realise how lucky we are! To be able to enjoy these absolutely magnificent landscapes, where every bend offers a new viewpoint, during hikes that are accessible to as many people as possible and don't require extraordinary physical condition. What a delight! : Nevertheless, the Loire Valley remains your home region?

M-A Le Fur: Yes, the Loire Valley is my region of origin and heart. I was born there, I grew up there and I'm still rooted there as I live near the town of Blois. This morning, on my way to work, I came across some deer on the road. And every evening, after my day's work, I realise how lucky I am to live in this magnificent region. The fauna, the flora, the landscapes, the gastronomy and of course the exceptional heritage, with the châteaux of the Loire like Chambord or Cheverny.... Everything here is a source of inspiration, and it's less than two hours by train from Paris! 

Find out more: - Find Marie-Amélie Le Fur's biography on the French Paralympic and Sports Committee website - Everything you need to know about the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games

Also read: - Paris 2024 Games: everything you need to know to make the most of your stay in France - Read our special report on the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games - Travelling in France in a wheelchair

By Rédaction

The magazine of the destination unravels an unexpected France that revisits tradition and cultivates creativity. A France far beyond what you can imagine…