In February 2022, we left Patrice Rognon at the dawn of a new challenge. The day after the Paris Grand Slam, he took up his duties as head of the organisation of the judo competition for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the organising committee (COJO).

The months have passed and we are happy to find Patrice in the deep end of the test event which began at the Grand Palais Ephémère and which in a few months will welcome the contenders for the Olympic title.

"The Paris 2024 Games requires a very big organisation. I have been working for the COJO since February 2022 and I haven't stopped for a moment. What is very complex to manage is that we have to mutualise the efforts between the different sports in the programme. I take care of judo but I can't think only of judo. I have to collaborate with the other disciplines for transport, just to name one sector.

If I'm ahead, it's not good for other sports. If I'm late, it's not good for us. We all have to move forward together, that's what we do and that requires a lot of co-ordination. I also had to familiarise myself with the many acronyms used in the Olympic movement and really get into English because, even if French is one Olympic language and we are in France, there are many people who do not master enough of the language of Molière, but there are solutions to this.

Otherwise, everything is fine for judo. Our sport demonstrates all its effectiveness. Often we tend to criticise but frankly there is not much to say about judo. My years as a technical adviser in France have brought me a lot of experience, experience in the field and that serves me every day. We have this luck with judo, particularly in France.

I also have incredible support from the international federation. Often everything is resolved with a phone call. As the organiser of the event, the OCOG deals with the IOC and the international federation. In my case, I am lucky to have competent and efficient interlocutors. I feel supported.

Everything is articulated around what is called 'integrated planning.’ Basically this means that there is no room for improvisation. Everything is planned, tested and written, line by line. With this test event, we face reality and having experience is crucial.

The Grand Palais Ephémère is an empty shell and we have to install everything, plan everything. For that, we have a plan A, B and C. Before starting, I was a little stressed but frankly, everything went well. It's even quite easy compared to what I imagined. Everything finds its place easily.

In the coming months, we still have a lot of work to do. We'll take care of the stands, the look and feel, everything in fact. For the moment we have 2.5 people who work daily on judo only and we will go up to 5 people because it is now that the operational phase really begins.

I'm confident, without being too confident either because we can't let up on the effort. But yes, I am confident. Judo in Paris will be a big event. France is a big organiser of judo and the IJF organises events almost every week. It's a big plus."

Confidence and realism, Patrice Rognon has them. From this test event, he can truly use them. What is certain is that the plunge into the deep end went perfectly. No one really doubted it, neither Patrice nor all the teams involved during these two days of competition.

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