The Olympic athletes are preparing in ideal conditions in sunny Turkey for the first important season towards selection for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024. Sporza visited Cédric Van Branteghem, CEO of BOIC, and Olav Spahl, director of top sport. How does Van Branteghem view his first year as new CEO? And what do they expect from Paris 2024?
Cédric Van Branteghem has been CEO of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC) since March 2022. “I amuse myself with the different aspects of my job. I can be busy with top sport, my passion,” said the former 400 meter sprinter.
“We have ambition. At a sporting level, but also with our marketing team. We want to welcome the Belgians in Paris in a fantastic way. Not only the athletes, but all Belgians in our Belgium House.”
What are the accent changes? “We are putting even more focus on the athlete. Jean-Michel Saive (BOIC President) and I are both Olympic athletes, we understand more than anyone how important it is to put the athlete at the center. And every euro we go get from our top sports partners, is to make the framework better.”
“There are no secrets. The more money we get in top sport, the better the successes will be. And we work day and night for that.”
Jean-Michel Saive and I are both Olympic athletes, we understand more than anyone how important it is to put the athlete at the centre.
“A total of 14 medals for Belgian athletes in Olympic disciplines in 2022”
There have been so many moments of success for Team Belgium in 2022.
“I can remember the moments of the gold medals of Remco (Evenepoel at the World Cycling Championships), Shari and Lotte (Bossuyt and Kopecky at the Track Cycling World Championships) and Nafi (Thiam at the athletics heptathlon). Those are goosebumps moments,” says director of top sport Olav Spahl.
“This year there were a total of 14 medals for Belgian athletes in the Olympic disciplines. An additional 16 top 8 places. It shows what potential exists in Belgium to shine at world level.”
Olav Spahl, director of top sport.
“It would be strange as an ex-athlete to want to go for lesser performances in Paris”
Team Belgium wants to do better in terms of the number of athletes in Paris compared to Tokyo. “The expectation is always bigger and better,” continues the CEO of the BOIC.
“It will certainly depend on the number of teams that will be present. As soon as we get 1 or more teams, our delegation size will increase. But we hope between 120 and 150 athletes to travel to Paris.”
With two former top athletes – Jean-Michel Saive and Cédric Van Branteghem – at the top of the BOIC, they want to achieve better performances in Paris. “It would be strange as an ex-athlete to want to go for less,” says Van Branteghem with a joke.
“The mission is to improve our top 8 places and win medals with that.”
Team Belgium won 7 medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The mission is to improve our top 8 places and thereby certainly win medals.
2023 will be an important year for qualifications towards the Games. “There are several moments where direct places are awarded, such as at the European Games in Poland, at the end of June, beginning of July. There, 124 places in 19 disciplines can be earned,” says Olav Spahl.
“We will use this as a simulation for Paris. We want to create the best conditions for the athletes to get to the Games”, concludes Spahl.
“Next training internship we can already make an initial assessment of where we stand and we will already get a first view of the various delegations,” adds Van Branteghem.
“We won’t know the final final delegation until 3 weeks before the Olympic Games in Paris.”
Tickets for Olympic Games in Paris 2024
Ticket sales for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will enter the first phase from December. “For the first time it is a global ticketing system. You can register to be eligible for tickets,” says ex-athlete Van Branteghem.
There are a total of 10 million tickets available. In comparison: for Rio 2016 there were 7.5 million tickets, for London 2012 almost 11 million.
The organization of Paris assumes that there is more demand than supply. “So it is a kind of lottery, where you have a chance to buy any tickets. That is why we will create a kind of Team Belgium club, which you can register for.”
“The prices of the tickets will be democratic. They start around 25 to 30 euros. Of course for top events such as a 100 meter final in athletics or swimming they will go to hundreds of euros.”