TSX REPORT: French President Macron wants a top-5 medal finish for France in Paris; new stats show that’s quite possible!

If history holds, France will have a lot to cheer about this summer! (Image: Paris 2024)

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Panorama: Paris 2024 (security “bubble” planned for Olympic Torch Relay) = Los Angeles 2028 (Equestrian Eventing inclusion depends on venue choice) = French Alps 2030 (Dubi: venue decisions must have local backing) = Television (NFL’s online playoff game viewing shows age split on streaming) = Russia (three more LIMS weightlifting suspensions) = Alpine Skiing (2: Odermatt comes from 11th to 1st in Schladming; good audience for NBC highlights show) = Football (2: Udinese penalized a game without fans for racist fan chants; modest audience for USA-SLO friendly) ●


“Our Olympic top five target is more achievable than ever according to the latest forecasts, which show that France could have its best Games since 1900.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure, but it’s sound, healthy pressure.”

That’s French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, speaking to French judoka at the national training center in Paris, and looking forward to a possible top-five finish.

They might get it.

In fact, if history is a good guide, the French will set a record for its most medals in an Olympic Games since it hosted the second Games of the Olympiad way back in 1900.

An exclusive compilation by The Sports Examiner shows that, on average, host nations over the last nine Olympic Games have increased their medal totals from the prior Games by an average of 12.8 medals!

We have to start with the Games of the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul (KOR), since it was the first since 1972 not to have significant boycotts, although there were a handful of countries which did not attend. Starting with Seoul, host-nation medals have increased in every Games except one:

1988: +14 for host Korea (+6 more golds)
1992: +18 for host Spain (+12 golds)
1996: –7 for host U.S. (+7 golds)
2000: +17 for host Australia (+7 golds)
2004: +3 for host Greece (+2 golds)
2008: +37 for host China (+10 golds)
2012: +14 for host Great Britain (+10 golds)
2016: +2 for host Brazil (+4 golds)
2020: +17 for host Japan (+15 golds)

The average increase in total medals across the nine Games was 12.8 and the average increase in gold medals was 8.1. Six of the nine hosts increased their medal count by 10 or more.

What does this mean for France?

First off, the French will benefit from the sanctions against Russia, as its athlete total will be very small and its medal total will likely be the worst ever in any Olympic Games it has attended.

Second, French performance at the Games has improved since 1988, moving from just 16 in Seoul to 29 in Barcelona and 37 in Atlanta in 1996. The French enjoyed their all-time high in medals – excepting the 1900 Games in which France dominated in participation and won 102 medals – in 2008 in Beijing with 43, followed in Rio in 2016 with 42.

That total ebbed to 33 in Tokyo in 2021, but if the historical averages hold, the French can look forward – as hosts – to 46 medals in Paris this summer (33 + 13), and 18 golds, which would be – by far – its best ever since the 1900 Games.

At 46 medals, the French will be in the hunt for fifth place in total medals; discounting Russia, Australia was fifth with 46 medals in Tokyo, and France and Germany had 42 in Rio in 2016 (again, ignoring Russia). Looking at the last Games held in Europe – in London in 2012 – fifth place, with Russia included, was 44 medals for Germany (France had 35).

In terms of golds, France’s historical projection of 18 golds would have ranked fifth in Tokyo if Russia is excluded, fifth at Rio 2016 even with Russia and would have tied the Russians for fourth at London 2012.

And with the Russians to be mostly absent, look for the French – with swim star Leon Marchand a possible triple gold medal winner – to possibly exceed the averages and get close to 50 medals, likely good enough for fourth behind the U.S., China and Great Britain.

One more note, however. The French may be great in Paris in 2024, but expect a letdown in Los Angeles in 2028 and Brisbane in 2032. Over the last nine Games, host-country medal counts recede by 5.3 medals on average in the next Games, and by 9.7 medals in the following Games.

But for now, all looks good.


● Olympic Games 2024: Paris ● A security “bubble” of as many as 100 security personnel will surround the Olympic Torch on its procession through France and its overseas departments from 8 May to 26 July. Moreover, 18 plainclothes agents will be assigned to security oversight of the relay and anti-drone technology will be employed to keep the route safe.

French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin noted that 13 initially-assigned torchbearers had been removed from the relay: 10 for having “significant criminal records” and three for concerns over ties to radical Islamist groups and the Russian-Ukraine conflict.

● Olympic Games 2028: Los Angeles ● A further report, from the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), indicated that the push for changes for Eventing in 2028 came from the International Olympic Committee and its owned-subsidiary, Olympic Broadcasting Services:

“The objective was to make Eventing more attractive to fans and new audiences, and increase the media value by capitalising on the Cross Country phase which was a unique draw for the discipline. President [Ingmar] De Vos [BEL] clarified that Eventing’s place on the programme for LA28 was subject to having a single venue for all the equestrian disciplines, something he was very confident about, but that the focus on cost and venue optimisation by the IOC, along with proposed changes to the format were essential for the FEI and the future of Eventing at the Olympic Games.”

The Saturday seminar had participants from 36 member federations. The starting point for further discussions was specified:

“A proposal by OBS, which is favoured by the FEI Eventing Committee as in line with Olympic principles, sees the team competition run on the short format (Dressage, Jumping, Cross Country) with team medals awarded after the Cross Country while the Individual competition remains on the long format, as per previous Olympic Games, with the Jumping round held the day after the Cross Country to award the Individual medals. This would entail two medal days, with Team Medals awarded on Day Three after the Cross Country followed by Individual Medals on Day Four after the Final Individual Jumping Round.”

A plan is due back to the IOC by 1 March.

Olympic stat star Hilary Evans (GBR) adds to yesterday’s story that “cross-country is always the second phase and the competition always culminates with show jumping.” This is preserved in the current proposal by OBS.

● Olympic Winter Games 2030: French Alps ● Responding to a FrancsJeux.com question about whether the famed ski resort Val d’Isere will be reinstated to the venue list for the 2030 Winter Games plan, the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi (SUI) explained:

“Our wish to see the French file reduce the number of sites was motivated by operational, budgetary reasons and linked to the experience of the athletes, who demand a real mix of sports at the Games.

“I understand the problem of the French Alps, it is the same as Switzerland for the Games in 2038. We have developed a principle, according to which fewer sites simplify the organization and reduce costs. But it is not up to the IOC to decide. The answer must be local. And it is clear that it is not possible to organize the Olympic Games despite local elected officials.”

● Television ● Fascinating data from the NFL’s Wild Card playoff game between the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs on 13 January, which was shown only on NBC’s Peacock subscription channel.

The game drew an audience of 22.86 million viewers, including home-city over-the-air showings in Miami and Kansas City. The Peacock-only audience was 21.5 million, an increase over the 2023 Wild Card game in the same time slot on NBC, but with 12% less households watching; that indicates fans went to out-of-home locations (bars, restaurants) to watch.

But for those who did watch online, the analysis from SportsMediaWatch.com was enormously informative:

“Notably, the Peacock game averaged 892,000 viewers in the demographic of kids and teens 12-17 — up more than three-fourths from last year (502K) and behind only Packers-Cowboys on FOX Sunday (1.03M) as the highest of any Wild Card Game the past two years, per a source. While the demographic accounted for just 3.9% of the audience, that is still considerably higher than last year (2.4%).

“The flip side of the growth in younger viewers is that the older audience dropped off by double-digits. The Peacock game averaged 10.47 million among adults 50+, down 14% from last year (12.21M). The 50+ demo, which accounted for a solid 60% of the audience last year, made up 46% this year.”

This is a lesson for all sports, demonstrating the strong interest in online viewing for younger folks is paired with much less viewing by those 50+. But while there were segment gains in the 12-17, 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 age groups, the total audience decreased because of the large base of older viewers in the U.S.

At least for now, on-the-air and cable still needs to be available if possible, as streaming is not yet the stand-alone answer.

● Russia ● The Russian news agency TASS reported that three more former Russia weightlifters were banned by the International Testing Agency based on data recovered from the RUSADA Moscow Laboratory in 2019.

They include 2010 European Championship 69 kg silver medalist Mikhail Gobeev, 2012 European Youth 69 kg Championship winner Armen Alekyan and 2013 Russian Cup 60 kg winner Dmitry Chaly, all banned for four years.

● Alpine Skiing ● Swiss Marco Odermatt, the two-time defending World Cup overall champion, looked dead after finishing 11th after the first run of Tuesday’s FIS World Cup Giant Slalom in Schladming (AUT).

Austrian home favorite Manuel Feller, a five-time World Cup winner in the Slalom, led the field at 1:05.01, almost a second (0.98) up on Odermatt, with Swiss Loic Meillard second (1:05.11).

But Odermatt was not deterred and flew down the Planai course and beat the rest of the field by almost half-a-second on the second run and barely out-lasted Feller with a 2:10.03 to 2:10.08 win for his eighth World Cup Giant Slalom win in a row (over two seasons)!

According to FIS, Odermatt has won 17 of his last 22 Giant Slaloms and has been in the top three in every one. There is a reason why he is the reigning Olympic and World Champion in the event.

Feller got second, his first Giant Slalom medal since December of 2022 and the sixth of his career. Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec, the 2022 Olympic runner-up, took the bronze at 2:10.32. River Radamus was the top American, in 23rd (2:12.89).

The Schladming World Cup will close with a Slalom on Wednesday.

Encouraging viewing audience for NBC’s delayed coverage of the FIS Alpine World Cup men’s Downhill from Kitzbuehel (AUT) on Saturday (20th) at 5 p.m. Eastern – up against NFL playoff football – of 550,000!

Most of the coverage was on the Peacock subscription channel.

● Football ● Reverberations continue from the racist chants aimed by Udinese supporters at AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan (FRA) on Saturday (20th). Maignan, who is Black, posted on X (ex-Twitter; computer translation from the original French):

“It was not the player who was attacked. It’s the man. He’s the father of the family. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. And I’m not the first this has happened to.

“We issued press releases, advertising campaigns, protocols and nothing has changed.

“Today, an entire system must take responsibility:
“– The perpetrators of these acts, because it is easy to act in a group, in the anonymity of a platform.
“– The spectators who were in the stand, who saw everything, who heard everything but who chose to remain silent, you are complicit.
“– The Udinese club, which only spoke of an interruption of the match, as if nothing had happened, you are complicit.
“– The authorities and the prosecutor, with everything that is happening, if you do nothing, YOU WILL ALSO BE COMPLICIT.

“I have already told you and if it bears repeating: I am not a VICTIM. And I want to say thank you to my club AC Milan, to my teammates, to the referee, to the Udinese players and to everyone who sent me messages, who called me, who supported privately and publicly. I can’t answer everyone but I see you and we are TOGETHER.

“It is a difficult fight, which will take time and courage. But it’s a fight we will win.”

Maignan and his teammates walked off the field briefly after the insults continued in the first half, but returned and won the game, 3-2.

The Udinese club has been ordered to play its next Serie A match without spectators, by a league judge, who noted that the club found one of the fans involved and banned him for life. The Associated Press reported:

“League judge Gerardo Mastrandrea noted that despite two announcements inside the stadium asking fans to stop the abuse, there were no reports of other supporters disassociating themselves from the racist chants. However, since Udinese cooperated with authorities and acted quickly to find the fans responsible for the abuse, the least severe sanction was applied.”

The sanction will be carried out for the 3 February match against Monza.

Modest television audience for the U.S. men’s National Team’s 1-0 loss to Slovenia in a friendly last Saturday (20th), with 291,000 watching on TNT at 3 p.m. Eastern, going up against the NFL pre-game shows and then the Baltimore vs. Houston divisional playoff that drew a combined 32.3 million on ABC and ESPN.

The Spanish-language broadcast of the match drew 240,000 for a combined audience of 531,000.

The TNT pre-game show 2:30 p.m. Eastern drew 191,000.

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