These students are creating their own Olympic museum

12 countries participate in the Olympics in men’s and women’s handball. » : in a room of the Kellner school (17e), Célia, 9 years old, carefully fills out a sheet. Like him, about fifteen CM1 students are engaged. Adam searches on the tablet: “ I am looking for information about handball rules, history of the sport, men’s and women’s teams…”. Their mission for several weeks? ” We are preparing a new handball wall for our museum! “explains the young man.

Because the schoolchildren are like the students of the neighboring Épinettes school (17e), started making a bold bet: to create their own Olympic museum before the Paris 2024 Games! The first showrooms opened last June and ” Earth will be in continuous evolution until 2024 “, Ludovic Fortes, EPS professor of Paris, together with students and other teachers at the beginning of the project.

The trigger occurred during a visit to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne (Switzerland) in April 2022. 60 students from two schools are participating in the trip. ” We asked ourselves: why not create our own museum in Paris with students? “Says Ludovic. During the remaining time, a letter is sent to the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach. On April 11, a surprise: the head of the IOC responds … and supports the initiative of the young Parisians! Therefore, the project IOC and Culture, which provides photo and video documents and supported by the Heritage Olympic Foundation, the City of Paris and Paris 2024.

The two schools also benefit from the Generation 2024 label awarded to schools by the Ministry of National Education to prepare events for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It is a museum created by children and for children ”, explains Ludovic Fortes. Therefore, they are the ones who serve as guides in the first rooms that have already been opened. School children can take advantage of this for a moment. Eventually, visitors from other schools as well as parents will discover it.

It all starts at the bottom of a staircase, where a large paper fresco created by students pays homage to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, The Vitruvian Man. Olympic motto ” Citius, Altius, Fortius (higher, faster, higher) have. Climbing the stairs, we travel through the history of the Games, from the first edition in Athens in 1896 to Paris 2024, through an exhibition of posters, children’s drawings…

At the top of the stairs we are greeted by a sculpture of a woman with a badminton racket: a nod to the work of Nikki de Saint-Phalle seen by students in the gardens of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. The sculpture was created by the students in collaboration with their art teacher.

A few meters ahead, a room brings together the first “treasures” of the museum, some donated by federations or athletes: a French fencing team outfit, a pair of sneakers from Sasha Zhoya, the great hope of French athletics, even the jersey of three-time Olympic gold medalist Nikola Karabatic in handball. .

Célia remembered the champion’s visit and conversations with him: “He showed us his gold medal at the Tokyo Games! “. He now follows the Blues matches diligently.

The handball player also interviewed students for Radio Epic podcasts created specifically by the two schools. He talks about his family’s history, especially his father’s participation in the Yugoslavian colors… in the Moscow Olympics in 1980!

During your visit to the museum, QR codes allow you to listen to audio recordings made by students on your smartphone.

Another innovation: each student has their own “Olympic Generation 2024” booklet, which accompanies them until the big meeting in 2024. This booklet tracks creative, educational activities or meetings with athletes from week to week.

In the corridors of the school, other mini-exhibitions show great women in sports, the history of the Olympic Games in antiquity, and even big names in athletics (Marie-Jose Perec, Mike Powell, or even Tommie Smith and the African-American athletes at the 1968 Mexico Games who raised their fists in political protest raised by John Carlos).

Familiarity with parabadminton or triathlon, discovery of golf, sessions with the Sporting club universitaire de France (SCUF)… sports initiatives for students participating in this project also multiply. Until the summer of 2024!

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