For the Olympic Games (23 July to 8 August), the candidates were selected by 72 ambassadors from 36 federations through a points system. For the Paralympics (from 24 August to 5 September), they were chosen by a public vote on the Internet.
Twelve candidates were in the running to carry the French flag at the Olympic Games, seven of them women - Clarisse Agbegnenou (judo), Johanne Defay (surfing), Sandrine Gruda (basketball), Maïva Hamadouche (boxing), Kristina Mladenovic (tennis), Mélina Robert-Michon (athletics) and Charline Picon (windsurfing) - and five men - Samir Ait-Saïd (gymnastics), Maxime Beaumont (canoeing), Renaud Lavillenie (athletics), Florent Manaudou (swimming) and Astier Nicolas (equestrian).
For the Paralympic Games, Perle Bouge (rowing), Nantenin Keïta (athletics), David Smetanine (swimming), Pierre Fairbank (athletics) and Souhad Ghazouani (weightlifting) were also candidates.
The 4 flag bearers expressed their immense pride:
I am very happy to have been designated flag bearer by my colleagues, for me it has a very special role and flavour, knowing that this year was very difficult with the postponement of the Games. For me, it's a revenge to know that I can take this beautiful nation behind me, share with them my touch of madness, a different vision of things. To have fun, that is really the motto I would like to give... And bring back beautiful medals all together with the experiences of each other!
Alone we go faster, together we go further. I am proud to carry the flag alongside Clarisse, this great champion whom I admire so much, to lead the Olympic delegation this summer in Tokyo. The Rio games were not the ones I dreamed of and this time I want to bring back the best of the medals and be there for all the athletes, even more so in these very special conditions.
Samir Aït Saïd
It is a great pride and an honour to be flag bearer with Stéphane, a champion with whom I shared good and difficult moments in London in 2012. So many exchanges and sharing together that we will put at the service of our beautiful French team.
I shed my first tears during my first Games in Beijing while watching a fight with Sandrine. Today, for my 4th Paralympic Games, I am honoured to live new emotions at her side. Together, we will be the pair that will surround our beautiful French team on all the areas of the Tokyo Games!