French, a language of sport
French is an official language of the Olympic movement, on an equal footing with English (Article 24 of the Olympic Charter).
Article 24.1: “The official languages of the IOC are French and English”.
Article 24.3: “In the case of divergence between the French and English texts of the Olympic Charter and any other IOC document, the French text shall prevail unless expressly provided otherwise in writing.”
An interdepartmental group with the title of "French, the language of sports" has been tirelessly active over a number of years, ensuring that French continues to be used in the field of sports (mainly during the Winter and Summer Olympics) in accordance with the Olympic Charter, without encroaching on the responsibilities of the International Olympic Committee and the Organising Committee.
This group is for the most part made up of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Culture and Communication (General Delegation for the French Language and the Languages of France). Others participating in the work of the group include the OIF and a number of translation schools, as well as various representatives of sports bodies.
The Sub-directorate for Linguistic Diversity and French represents the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the group and supports actions carried out locally by cultural services to promote the French language during major sporting events.
Winter Olympic Games, Vancouver 2010
The use of French at the Games was very positively received, including on the part of the Canadian Commissioner for Official Languages. The bilingualism required under the Olympic Charter was fully respected at all the Winter Olympics competition sites in Vancouver:
All official announcements (team presentations, results, etc.) were made in French and then in English;
Commentaries during events were made in both languages, with French sometimes playing a minority but nonetheless significant role;
All posters were printed in both French and English;
Large numbers of French-speaking volunteers were stationed in public areas, to provide spectators with information in French at each site. Non-French speaking volunteers were frequently able to communicate with the French-speaking public.