Grenoble 50th Olympic Anniversary
Edition of the Games: 1968 Winter Olympic Games
Act III – Denouement
Legacy of the Celebrations
Linking Past, Present and Future
“Grenoble entered the modern world with the 1968 Olympic Games. At a time when all energies are geared towards building the Grenoble of tomorrow, the fiftieth anniversary of the Olympic Games is a unique opportunity to pay tribute to the transformations of yesterday’s Grenoble which today, is our common heritage.” Eric Piolle, Mayor of Grenoble.
Celebrations gave the public a chance to reconnect with their Olympic history. In addition, this event lent a new dynamic to the projects supported by the COLJOG for years to come: the creation of a dedicated Olympic space showcasing the existing legacy, renovation of the Paul Mistral Olympic Park and implementation of a pedagogical path, promotion of past through a documentary film and work with students and schoolchildren.
History & Story
A historical moment in the spotlight
The return of the PyeongChang athletes to Grenoble during the Celebrations
The French athletes returning from the PyeongChang Olympics were honoured in the capital of the Alps, during the celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1968 Grenoble Olympics. The circle was made complete, fifty years after the 1968 Olympic Games. And with a first, as the athletes returning from the Olympics traditionally land in Paris!
The 15 medalists in the spotlight were part of the party, including those who had already returned to France, such as Perrine Laffont, who won the very first medal of these Winter Games. The ceremony, chaired by sports minister Laura Flessel, already having visited Isère earlier in the day, began more than three hours later than foreseen, due to the late arrival of the champions coming straight from PyeongChang. All the available invitations were distributed, and the Convention Centre was full.,
Some PyeongChang medalists, Perrine Laffont, Julia Pereira, Marie Martinod, Pierre Vaultier, Maurice Manificat, Richard Jouve and Adrien Backscheider had returned earlier from Korea. In the first part of the evening, they revisited their Olympic journey and the rest of their season. They also answered a few questions from an enthusiastic, multi-generational audience.
Martin Fourcade, the head of the French delegation and the flag bearer for the opening ceremony, spoke to the crowd: “We are very happy to be here. We didn’t realise at all that there would be so many people. It’s amazing. With three titles in PyeongChang, the biathlete, located in the Vercors, equaled the record of Jean-Claude Killy in 1968, and left his mark on the Olympics.
Festivities continued the day after with a figure skating gala at the Sports Palace, in the presence of the dancing couple Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, silver medalist in PyeongChang.
An opportunity not to be missed
The 50th anniversary of an Olympic Games is a major milestone for cities and regions that want to reactivate their Olympic legacy. Fifty years after the Games, it is still possible to gather and involve former athletes, organisers, volunteers, and spectators who participated in the adventure. But the primary reason to organise celebrations is to transmit the history, the human values and the spirit of the Games to the youth and the next generation. It is also an avenue for the public to reinvest in their own region and to take ownership of the place where they live.
After rather limited celebrations for the 30th and then 40th anniversary, many volunteers and engaged people decided not to miss the 50th anniversary opportunity.
A coordination challenge for the partners
Many actors were involved in the organisation of the 50th anniversary of the Games: the COLJOG, the Department of Isere, the National and Departmental Olympic Committees, the City of Grenoble and the peripherical Olympic sites.
It was a real challenge to first mobilise and involve people and then to coordinate amongst the various involved sites and to set up a comprehensive agenda that could combine unique events with regular activities.
In assessing the success of the celebration, the attendance at the various events and the overall results speak for themselves:
GRENOBLE: Exhibition at the Musée Dauphinois, 100,000 visitors
ALPE D’HUEZ, Musée d’Huez et de l’Oisans, 3 Feb – 21 Apr: 15,000 visitors
GRENOBLE Autumn Fair, Alpexpo, 3 Nov – 13 Nov: 55,000 visitors
VILLARD DE LANS, Maison du Patrimoine 23 Dec – 21 Apr: 11,500 visitors
GRENOBLE Feb, 12,000 “Shuss mascott” luck charms for the Epiphany celebration
GRENOBLE, Office de Tourisme, guided tours, 2 Feb – 5 Apr: 12,000 visitors
GRENOBLE, Palais des Sports, 6 Feb – 25 Feb (including ice hockey and figure skating show and Welcome ceremony for the French athletes returning from PyeongChang Olympic Games: 40,000 visitors
GRENOBLE, Jardin de Ville, Treasure Hunt, 2 June,10,000 participants.
Not all data of attendance is available.
The programme was based on a variety of activities: sport events, exhibitions, conferences, popular races, athletic competitions, tourist visits, etc. What made celebrations unique was the accumulation of activities, the multiple sites involved and the wide range of targeted people, from families to students, from school children to visitors, and from athletes to the whole region’s inhabitants. Taken individually, all of these activities can be replicated in other places for other celebrations.
The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal.
In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details.
The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at email@example.com
Additional resources can be found through the following links:
Interview with Olivier Cogne, Director, Musée Dauphinois, Grenoble