At precisely 8:24 p.m. local time on Tuesday — 2:24 p.m. Eastern time — Paris unveiled the logo for its 2024 Olympics bid. Projected onto the limestone façade of the Arc de Triomphe, the symbol is a multicolored, calligraphic Eiffel Tower, a symbol with a clear connection to the multi-ethnic contingent of French athletes who appear in the official video of the Comité National Olympique et Sportif Français.
Titled “Je Rêve des Jeux” — “I Dream of the Games”— the video features a group of athletes identifying themselves and their sport. The common theme in their words is the unifying power of sport, specifically in a diverse population. The logo, which incorporates a spectrum of colors into what is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of France, underscores that theme: We are all different, but, in the end, we are all French. If the Olympic Games are always a testament to athletic prowess and international comity, in Paris, in 2024, this campaign suggests, there would also be an element of national unity.
That message carries particular weight after 2015, one of the most traumatic years for France in recent memory. The year began with the January attack on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 and ended with the Nov. 13 attacks by Islamist militants at the Batalcan theater, the Stade de France, and a series of restaurants and bars in Paris, which killed 130 and injured many more.
In both cases, the attackers were either French or European, a reality that suggests the deep roots of social fragmentation within Europe as a whole but especially in France. And the Comité National seems to be presenting the Paris Olympics bid as a kind of corrective: If sport cannot bring people together, what can?
Paris is vying with Budapest, Rome, Los Angeles and Hamburg to host the games. The winner will be announced on Sept. 17, 2017, in Lima, Peru. Immediately after the Nov. 13 attacks, Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, was quick to point out that the events of 2015 will have no effect on Paris’s candidacy one way or the other. The year 2024 marks Paris's second campaign to host the games in recent years. It lost its bid for the 2012 games to London.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the date that the winner of the 2024 Olympics will be announced in 2016. The actual announcement will be made in 2017. This version has been corrected.