Professional athletes and finance ahead of the 2024 Olympics

Kitty on the Internet, videos on Instagram to attract sponsors: France has hundreds of athletes who use all strategies to find money and prepare for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Photo of Mickael Zeze, the fourth fastest Frenchman in history, over 100m in the summer of 2022, but France He found himself without the help of the Athletics Federation and was released by his sponsors. However, the FFA increases its budget to professionalize the maximum number of athletes, 91 of which are currently available to benefit from.

“I’m snorkelling in 2022. I’ll be at 0€… When I was at 9.99 in La Chaux-de-Fonds last summer, I said to myself ‘well done!’ I’m going to be helped.” Mickael Zeze really He became the fourth Frenchman after Ronald Pognon, Jimmy Vicaut and Christophe Lemaitre to break the myth by dropping under 10 seconds in the 100m in 2022. “The rules have evolved, except the federation doesn’t play like that.”

All performances above 900m no longer count and Mikael Zeze failed to perform at all at sea level, peaking at 10.20 during the French Championships in Caen.

Romain Barras, FFA’s director of high performance, has introduced restrictive selection criteria for applying for professional contracts with the federation. “Dura lex sed lex (the law is strict, but it’s the law) and unfortunately Mikael couldn’t run as fast during the big championships. If we worked on impact, I’d like to help everyone, but budgets can’t be stretched” .

Zeze needs 50,000 euros to go to the Olympics

So Mickael Zeze, hoping to see his career explode at the age of 28, blames the blow thanks to his record lap time. “Nike, like many others, let me down at the start of the Covid crisis and I no longer have any sponsors. I had to buy a pair of spikes myself for the first time.”

Fortunately, Normand is a community manager in civilian life to make some money. But my sports career is in danger.” He is appealing on social media to raise the 50,000 euros he considers necessary to prepare for the 2024 Olympic Games.

“With this medal, I thought sponsors would come, but not much is happening. I need money to train, buy equipment, pay my physiotherapist, coach and travel. I calculated it at €25,000 a year, so €50,000 until the Games”. On LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, Mickael Zeze is trying to sell himself to sponsors, and in mid-January he put his leetchi cat up for sale for over €4,000.

Pro contract loss, ‘painful decision to make’

A tense and stressful situation for athletes who are not able to prepare in the best way for the games. This is also the case for Tokyo Olympics 400m semi-finalist Amandine Brossier, who broke her personal best in 2022 but lost her pro B contract (between €15 and €18,000 a year) from the FFA.

“It’s a painful decision to make. The subsidy went to my club Angers, which paid me. So I’m losing my salary, but also the mutual insurance and the pension contributions that go with it. At the moment I’m not getting it. There’s nothing but a few sponsors. My club assures me that They will help me until the World Championship in Budapest in August, but after that I don’t know.”

Amandine Brossier therefore has a lot of pressure on her shoulders, having to appeal to corporate sponsors in addition to her own training and experience (for example, €2,000 to go to Seville in January). “I’m not calm, I spend time and energy.”

The number of subscribers in networks as the main showcase for athletes

Margot Chevrier, No. 1 in the women’s pole vault since last year, also used energy. Thanks to his recent performances, Nicoise has secured a pro A contract (€23,000/year), again applying for up to €30,000 per year, while consolidating the 1st performance circle.

Getting ready for 2023 comes in handy, but Margot Chevrier doesn’t always have them. “It doesn’t solve all the problems, you also need sponsors. I can’t pay my coach, my mental coach, or my physiotherapist as much as I want.” The young woman is in her 5th year of medical school and cannot work on the side.

“For example, I used a funny little video on Instagram where I removed the adjustable wrench from the front of my small car that had just broken down… At some point I couldn’t find a sponsor to offer me a reliable car. mine stopped working, i took a video and through word of mouth i was able to talk to toyota who sent me a car to nice three weeks later.

After two years of filing to buy a car, he had a happy ending, but his number of followers on Instagram often became a concern. “They told me that 4,000 is not enough. But today there are 9,000, and I have more than doubled in one year.”

Today, Margot Chevrier knows her strengths very well, with a sports-health profile (thanks to her medical education) and the development of women’s sports, which is accepted as a standard value by companies.

Professional contracts and assistance cost the FFA 3.5 million euros

Different life paths for these athletes who must move and rely on themselves at all costs to continue in professional sports. A problem that the French Athletics Federation and Romain Barras are well aware of. “When I was an athlete 15 years ago, we made a book with our prize list and knocked on the doors of local businesses to find some money.”

The 2010 European decathlon champion knows the harsh realities of the sport. Now he is the benchmark for helping and professionalizing athletes, a process that has been ongoing in FFA for ten years. “We’ve never had so much direct assistance.”

“Pro contracts (A, B or Avenir) are €1,350,000 per year, indirect aid (with the support of the National Sports Agency) is €680,000 per year and internships are €1,200,000. We also help relay teams, but there are performance criteria, or medal commitments or finals at major championships, or top 16 world rankings, or top lists in your discipline.

“And athletics can be played by a centimeter or a hundredth of a second, but you need objective criteria. FFA sometimes worked and didn’t work emotionally. Sometimes it’s difficult, I’m sorry for Mickael or Amandine, he’s a hard worker, he’s serious, but 2023 does not pass in a year.

“It may not be enough, but the FED is doing its best to help athletes with its own funds. It’s 3.5 million euros a year. It’s not that common in the world of athletics.”

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