LA 2024 Promises To Embrace French Language If Awarded The Games

Los Angeles’ bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games marked Monday’s International Francophonie Day by pledging to “honour and promote the French language if awarded the Games.”

LA 2024 Olympic bid supporters celebrate bid book submission at LA Coliseum in pre-dawn rally (LA 2024 Photo)

LA 2024 Olympic bid supporters celebrate bid book submission at LA Coliseum in pre-dawn rally (LA 2024 Photo)

In the spirit of the day, the bid committee issued the English copy of its press release instead fronted with a French version topped with the “Suivez le Soleil” tagline, the translation of “Follow the Sun.”

The message could be seen as an awkward nod to the American bid’s rival in the race, Paris.

In February the Paris 2024 bid committee was widely criticized across France and in social media for unveiling it’s tagline “Made For Sharing” in English – and projected across the Eiffel Tower.

Cultural groups in France threatened legal action over the use of English to promote the bid, claiming that the official languages of the Olympics are French and English – and in that order.  Bid officials defended the action by claiming the “Made For Sharing” message was designed to be communicated around the world.

LA 2024 vows to utilize both French and English in announcements and signage at the Olympic Games, and says it will ensure that French-speaking volunteers are available to assist athletes and other attendees to make sure they feel at home in the city during the Games.

LA 2024 is also committed to celebrating Francophone influences on American and international culture throughout the Cultural Olympiad, and sustaining America’s support of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the Francophone world.

Paris 2024 strapline "Made for Sharing" projected on Eiffel Tower in French (Paris 2024 Photo)

Paris 2024 strapline “Made for Sharing” projected on Eiffel Tower in French (Paris 2024 Photo)

Casey Wasserman, LA 2024 Chairman said, “on behalf of all of us at LA 2024, we send our warmest wishes to all the French-speaking people across the globe on the occasion of International Francophone Day.”

“French is the original Olympic language and LA 2024 is absolutely committed to celebrating and promoting the beautiful French language if LA is given the honour of hosting the 2024 Games.”

“There’s no better place to celebrate the world’s languages and cultures than in LA, the most diverse city in the United States.  With Los Angeles’ deep ties to every corner of the Francophone world, every French-speaking athlete and fan will have a home field advantage at the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the City of Angels.”

According to rule 23 of the Olympic Charter, as one of the official languages of the Olympic Games, organizing committees are required to implement the French language in all signs and communications.

LA and Paris are competing to host the 2024 Olympic games.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will elect the host city September 13, in Lima, Peru.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.