Can karate still make a comeback at the Paris 2024 Olympics?
The discipline is not yet on the program for the Games in three years, despite its first appearance in Tokyo.
A choice that does not suit Steven Da Costa.
The Olympic champion is embarking on a fight for his reinstatement, as announced in our columns.
And karateka can count on the support of Roxana Maracineanu, the Deputy Minister in charge of Sports.
What is your position on the absence of karate at the 2024 Olympics?
I have always respected the decision of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG) taken in conjunction with the IOC. It is a decision in which I was not involved. The reasons are understandable. The concept of the OCOG is not new. In Tokyo, this was already the case. Additional sports are new disciplines for young people, which can be practiced at a lower cost, to attract a different audience towards the Olympic Games. For the presence of karate, I had discussed it on several occasions with the OCOG. Several nations have also expressed their interest in this reintegration, such as Japan where it is one of their flagship sports. The integration of karate would be a great link between Tokyo 2021 and Paris 2024.
How did you react to Steven Da Costa's call for this reinstatement?
For us, all gold medals are important.
Steven Da Costa did a great job in Tokyo.
He's fresh, he's young, and he's a super Olympic champion.
It embodies youth, simplicity and modesty.
I was sad for him that this was probably his last Olympics.
He has shown that he is able to withstand the immense pressure he has on his shoulders.
If karate was in Paris, I don't see who could prevent it from winning the gold medal in three years.
I trained like hard.
I took on my favorite role.
I brought the gold back to France.
I carried the flag high.
I was on cloud nine.
Waking up hurts.
In 2024, with your support, I want to defend my Olympic title in Paris.
🇫🇷🥋 https://t.co/jQBE8KyLtp pic.twitter.com/QLCLeJ4tPK
- Steven Da Costa (@Steven_DaCosta) August 11, 2021
Do you support his approach?
My role is to support and accompany this French athlete, who brilliantly succeeded at the Games with a medal, so that his sport is present in Paris.
If he was chosen as the flag bearer for the closing ceremony in Tokyo, it is not for nothing.
I support Steven Da Costa's approach.
It's worth writing to the IOC at least.
Especially since we must not forget that there is a fifth place available for additional sports.
Everything is possible.
Karate could participate in the success of the French delegation at the Paris Games ...
The Games are successful if they are delivered on time, if they respect the objectives set by the OCOG, particularly in terms of the environment.
All this only makes sense, in the end, if the France team performs.
There is always this imperative.
The International Olympic Committee insists that the Games are successful if the host country performs sportily.
As was the case for Japan with 27 gold medals.
Karate is a sport that has a lot of licensees.
We had very good results in Japan, but also in other world competitions.
This could benefit Paris 2024.
Tokyo had also made very specific choices for additional sports ...
The selection criteria in Japan were based, in part, on performance criteria.
They make almost ten medals out of the six new disciplines… which they have chosen.
We must also have this reflection for Paris 2024. Of course, the legacy of the Games is very important for young people.
The essential remains to perform.
When we host the Games, we have to do better than ever.
This is what makes young people want to play sports.
There, it would be depriving oneself of a sport with great chances of medals, and in gold.
Can we imagine an adaptation of the format of karate competitions to meet the requirements of the IOC, which wants to further reduce the number of athletes present at the Games?
Yes, we can offer these more traditional sports to renew themselves a little. Karate would surely be open to changing categories or other systems of competitions. On condition of course to keep that of Steven Da Costa…
Climbing has offered a format that is unusual for international competitions. It was great to watch, there was staging… Same with skateboarding. With some adaptations, traditional sports like karate could more easily find their place at the Games. And in a sustainable way.