Dear readers,

On the occasion of the Olympic Games, I meet with you every Friday to talk about this great popular event which begins on July 26. Every week, I will offer you my selection of articles published in Le Figaro.

While the Paris Games begin in 134 days, we have not finished warming up in the land of permanent discontent with some good and tasty controversies. Security, transport, soaring rental prices, water quality in the Seine…

What if we also talked about sports! In this register, controversy is mounting over the participation of Kylian Mbappé. Could he be on the French Olympic football team? Real Madrid, his probable future club, has just announced that it does not want its players to participate in the Games. The fear of injury, even before the start of next season, is great. And completely justified!

In Paris, Philippe Diallo, the president of the French Football Federation, is sorry. He asserts that there is “some sort of higher interest of the country that must prevail.” “The whole world will be watching us,” he adds. I want to do everything to have the best possible team. »

Arguments that we are not at all obliged to share. We consume football all year round, morning, noon and evening to the point of overdose, in all latitudes, and therefore we do not watch the Olympic Games for football. Nor for rugby. We can regret, in this respect, that Antoine Dupont deserted the French XV – so pitiful at the start of the 6 Nations Tournament this year – to participate in the rugby 7s event at the Olympics. What interest ? This is not where we want to see him shine.

The beauty of the Games is precisely all the disciplines whose media scarcity arouses curiosity, arouses desire, provokes emotion. The Olympics are athletics, swimming, horse riding, fencing, rowing… With athletes who have sweated in anonymity for years and years of preparation. With athletes who, for many, arrive unknown and leave covered with laurels, global stars for a crazy timer. With athletes who do not earn millions and who are not advertising portmanteaus. This is the magic of the Olympic Games. For two weeks, they are the gods of the stadium.

So if Kylian Mbappé is not at the start of the competition, it really doesn’t matter. On the contrary. The Games are not football.

See you next week, Yves Thréard