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Learn French with the Olympic Games

This summer 2024, France is preparing to experience an exceptional moment: the Olympic and Paralympic Games return to Paris, a hundred years after the last edition of 1924.

With over 3 billion expected spectators worldwide and nearly 6 million projected tourists, the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games promise to be an event of exceptional magnitude. But more than just a sporting event, this global event promises to be a true celebration of culture, youth, and the universal values of Olympism.

In this article, l’Atelier An Phu invites you to briefly revisit the history of the Olympic Games and the importance of France in their modern creation, before giving an overview of the 2024 edition, and finally providing you with a practical lexicon of sports and Olympic vocabulary.


France, a pioneer of the Olympic Games

It was at the end of the 19th century that the idea of the modern Olympic Games germinated in the visionary mind of Pierre de Coubertin, a French educator and social reformer.

Learn French with the Olympic Games 1
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Inspired by the ideals of sports competition and international fraternity, Coubertin devoted his life to reviving the spirit of the ancient Olympic Games.

Under his impetus, in 1894, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded, establishing the fundamental principles that still guide the Olympic Games today: universality, sportsmanship, and equality among nations.

That is why today, alongside English, the French language is one of the only two official languages of the IOC, demonstrating France’s enduring commitment to Olympism.

Following the creation of the IOC, the first Olympic Games of the modern era were organized in 1896, with Athens chosen as the host city to symbolize a return to the roots of Olympism. Since then, the Olympic Games have become one of the most prestigious and anticipated events in the world.


The 2024 edition of the Olympic Games

In 2024, the Summer Olympic Games will return to France, with Paris as the main host city, from Friday, July 26 to Sunday, August 11, 2024, and from August 28 to September 8, 2024 for the Paralympic Games.

Notably, for the first time in the history of the Games, some competitions will also be held in other French cities, including Marseille for sailing, Saint-Denis for athletics and rugby, and Lyon for football (complete list of sites). This decision aims to promote diversity and involve more regions in the celebration of the Games.


J.O Map France

Among the major projects planned for the Games is the renovation of the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as athletics competitions.

Additionally, significant investments have been made to modernize transportation infrastructure, ensure the safety of participants and spectators, and promote sustainable development through initiatives such as the use of recycled materials and renewable energy sources.

The total cost of the 2024 Olympic Games is estimated at around 6.8 billion euros, making it one of the least expensive editions in recent decades. This relative frugality is partly due to the judicious use of existing facilities and the organizers’ commitment to limit unnecessary spending.


Olympic Games Vocabulary

For French learners, the 2024 Olympic Games provide a great opportunity to enrich their vocabulary and become familiar with the language in a real context. Here are some useful words and expressions related to sports and the Olympic Games:

Olympic Sports:

  • Athlétisme : Athletics (Track and Field)
  • Natation : Swimming
  • Gymnastique : Gymnastics
  • Escrime : Fencing
  • Cyclisme : Cycling
  • Football : Soccer (Football)
  • Lancer de poids : Shot put
  • Saut à la perche : Pole vault
  • Haltérophilie : Weightlifting
  • Tir à l’arc : Archery


Equipments and associated terms:

  • Raquette : Racket
  • Ballon : Ball
  • Piste : Track
  • Piscine : Pool
  • Saut en hauteur : High Jump
  • Ligne d’arrivée : Finish Line
  • Maillot : Jersey (Kit)
  • Médaille : Medal
  • Record : Record
  • Épreuve : Event


Common expressions:

  • Gagner la médaille d’or : Win the gold medal
  • Battre un record du monde : Break a world record
  • Être en tête : Be in the lead
  • Atteindre la ligne d’arrivée : Reach the finish line
  • Marquer un but : Score a goal
  • Faire une passe décisive : Make a decisive pass
  • Disputer une finale : Compete in a final
  • Participer à une compétition : Participate in a competition
  • Être sélectionné pour une épreuve : Be selected for an event
  • Être disqualifié : Be disqualified
  • Atteindre le podium : Reach the podium

Experience the excellence of pedagogy at Atelier An Phu, a distinguished French language center located in Saigon. We specialize in tailor-made programs suitable for all proficiency levels. Immerse yourself in the vibrant ambiance of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and delve into the richness of the French language while celebrating the universal spirit of sports and the values they embody.

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