“It was while watching the London Olympics in 2012 that I realized the importance of this global competition. The Games are “THE” benchmark for sport, the absolute holy grail that all sportsmen and women in the world want to compete in and experience at least once in their life,” Mbappe stated in an open letter published in L’Equipe.
“This is the time when you can give people the most pleasure, convey emotions and experience them in return. Being in the Olympic Village, giving, receiving, is a unique experience.”
Mbappe went on to explain how watching the London Games in 2012 inspired his dream of one day leading out France at the world’s biggest sporting event.
“I must have been 13, I was still very young, I remember the hours leading up to some competitions in London. I was impatient. Before each game of the American basketball super team, with LeBron (James), Kobe (Bryant). I wanted to see how Usain Bolt was going to transport us to the track in athletics, 100m, 200m,” he added.
“I followed a lot of other sports, of course football with Neymar’s Brazil who was beaten in the final by Mexico, and Ney, disappointed, said he wanted to win four years later in Rio, in his country.
“That’s when I said to myself, I want to be there too. I want to experience the Paris Games. It’s a strong inner feeling, as if I were destined to participate in this huge celebration in my city, in my country, a hundred years after the last competition in France (the Summer Games).
“It is a childhood dream that emerges. I dream of going to other sports that we don’t have time to see the rest of the year: judo, handball and men’s women’s basketball, 3×3 in basketball, volleyball, canoeing, even skateboarding!”
What happened in 2021?
PSG refused Mbappe permission to take part in the delayed 2020 Games in Tokyo, along with Brazil duo Neymar and Marquinhos, arguing that it would disrupt pre-season preparations following his participation in Euro 2020 earlier in the summer.
“Already, in 2020, for the Tokyo games, I wanted to participate, it was an objective but they quickly pulled the rug out from under my feet,” he said of missing out on the competition.
“When you see what the French teams have succeeded … We won in volleyball, in hand, we were finalists in basketball against the United States. They went to look for gold and brought credit to France. I hope to experience that and do the same in 2024, with a team that would bring together the best players of the moment.
“These Games will be in France, they are those of the centenary in Paris. It’s not the biggest competition in football, but you have to play the Games in your career. It is something unheard of when you are in love with sports.”