Judo’s Universal Celebration: Bridging Generations at the Paris Grand Slam 2024

Paris, France This year’s Grand Slam in Paris marked the 50th edition of the event, drawing 621 athletes from a record 107 nations in front of the packed Accor Hotels Arena. The Judo Paris Grand Slam 2024, which concluded Sunday 4 February, was not just a testament to the Judo wide appeal but also a vibrant showcase of the power of sport. Invited by the International Judo Federation (IJF), United Through Sports President Stephan Fox and CEO Julia Govinden travelled to Paris to attend the event, as UTS is always ready to support and join the action.

Bridging Generations: The Unifying Power of Judo

One of the many highlights was watching history in the making with the ‘Legends vs. Heroes’ mixed team event, on the final competition day. This event saw the two teams blending the talents of three judo superstars with three local children of all abilities, symbolizing the sport’s inclusive spirit and the capacity to bridge generations. This step wasn’t just about showcasing judo skills, but also about celebrating the core values of judo: respect, courage, and friendship.

Alongside local judoka youths, the ‘Legends’ team included Olympic and world champions like Majlinda Kelmendi and Ilias Iliadis, while the ‘Heroes’ team featured talents such as Clarisse Agbegnenou and Cyrille Maret. The presence of six Olympic champions, not only as competitors but also as coaches, like Kosei Inoue, added a layer of grandeur and excitement. Youth also had a role in refereeing, notably with IJF Head Referee Director supported by a young assistant, highlighting the IJF’s commitment to empowering young people and reinforcing the message that everyone, regardless of age or ability, plays a vital role in judo.

IJF Head Referee Director and his young assistant

A memorable 50th edition of the Judo Grand Slam

France, as the host nation, topped the medals table, judo’s universal appeal and its role in fostering community and inclusivity, demonstrating judo’s values and its ability to inspire everyone to be their best selves. President Fox was invited to present medals and said: “One of the aspects I really respect about IJF is that the federation goes beyond the sport, it is a family that really supports one another. It has been fantastic to watch the competitions and certainly the olympic values were felt across the stadium. Congratulations to all the athletes, officials, federation, and organising committee. Paris will be spectacular!“

UTS President Stephan Fox

As we look forward to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the IJF Paris Grand Slam was a great introduction to the excitement that awaits in Paris this summer. United Through Sports is proud to have been invited to this event, and witnessing once again the transformative power of sport in creating opportunities and a lasting impact on the lives of young people around the world, regardless of their backgrounds or abilities.