French Olympic Champion Seb Flute starts as Paris 2024 sports manager
Almost 30 years after winning individual gold medal at Barcelona 1992, Sebastien Flute’s Olympic legacy turns to a new chapter. Today, he starts as the sports manager for archery at the organising committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In just over 900 days – on 26 July 2024 – a spectacular opening ceremony will take place on the River Seine in Paris to open the Games.
Seb, who was so critical to the explosion in popularity of archery in France in the 90s, will then have yet another chance to put archery in the forefront of people’s minds in his home country – and around the globe.
It is the second consecutive Games in which Seb takes a management role, having acted as World Archery’s operational delegate for Tokyo 2020.
“I am very excited,” said Seb. “After my two-year mission as World Archery technical delegate for the Tokyo Olympics, I am eager to get back to the heart of the organisation of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic events.”
“The venue chosen for our events – Esplanade des Invalides – will be a fabulous setting for archery and it is up to us to make sure that we build a venue that is worthy of the event and the expectations of the delegations.”
“There is still a long way to go before July 2024 but I am already looking forward to it.”
Seb reached the highest levels of global archery, becoming world indoor champion (1991), European champion and Olympic Champion (1992) all by the of just 20. He also won a world team title with the French recurve men in 1993.
He collected several more international medals in the late 90s and, after his third successive Olympics at Sydney 2000, retired as an athlete.
Aside from a brief comeback in an attempt to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games – which saw him win the French national title in 2011 – Flute has instead focused on professional pursuits, including launching his own line of bows (twice), coaching and event organisation.
In 2007, Flute started working with ASO, a major French sports marketing firm involved in the Tour de France and Rallye Dakar.
He laid the groundwork for his current role by acting as an advisor for the French team at Rio 2016 and partnering with the ultimately-successful French bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. For Paris, Flute will couple his exceptional operational experience with an intimate understanding of what it takes for athletes to perform at the highest level.
Paris is no stranger to hosting elite archery events. The French capital held the Archery World Cup Final in 2013 and, following the successful Olympic bid, secured a stage of the international tour from 2021 to 2023. Last year’s competition also included the final qualifier for Tokyo 2020.
When it comes to the Games in three years, the city-centre location at the historic Invalides – which was built in 1687 as a military hospital and retirement home for war veterans – will provide a unique experience for athletes and spectators.
“We want to try to leave a trace in the minds of young French people of what not just high-level sport, but sport could bring them,” he said. “The hope is that the new generation will find an interest in sport, put down their mobile phones and make them want to practice an activity.”
Archery could not ask for a better person to lead that campaign, nor one with such a personal link to both the sport and the sport in France.
Back in 1992, the first Olympics to make use of archery’s now-ubiquitous head-to-head competition format, Seb proved it was possible to overcome the giants of the day with the right groundwork, mindset and delivery. Thirty-two years later, he’ll be responsible for setting the stage for somebody else’s cinderella story.
“Winning gold in 1992 shows that it wasn’t just for the Koreans, Americans or Russians who dominated the sport at the time,” said Seb, who started archery at his local club in 1983 at the age of 11. “I like to remind people that I started like everyone else, without any special help. Everything that came is just a story of progression, taking things step-by-step.”
Timeline: Seb Flute
- 1983: Starts archery at the age of 11 in Brest, France.
- 1988: Joins French youth team
- 1989: Wins European junior championships.
- 1991: Wins world indoor championships.
- 1992: Becomes European and Olympic Champion.
- 2000: Finishes eighth at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games then retires from competitive archery and launches an equipment line.
- 2004: Awarded Knight of the Legion of Honour in France.
- 2008: Commentator for archery at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
- 2011-2012: Attempts competitive comeback, wins national championships but ultimately retires after missing out on selection to the French team for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
- 2013: Inauguration of the ‘Sebastien Flute Archery Centre’ at INSEP, the French high-performance facility.
- 2016: Advises the French archery team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games archery team, named as one of the 15 ‘Best Olympic Archers of All-Time’ by World Archery.
- 2017: Partners with the French bid for the 2024 Olympic Games as technical adviser.
- 2019-2021: Works for World Archery as technical delegate for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- 2022: Starts as archery sports manager for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.