8 November 2022

René Legendre: “What stands out is the kindness of the people

Live an experience and make unique human encounters. Create strong links between volunteers and with the organizing committee. These World Para Athletics Championships – PARIS’23 will undoubtedly leave you with unforgettable memories. To discover the richness of the Volunteer Program, we went to meet several volunteers who worked on different events of the French Handisport Federation.

For this first portrait, we met René Legendre. At 64 years old, this retiree is a regular volunteer with the French Handisport Federation. Present at the last Handisport Open Paris, René has already applied to be part of the Para Athletics World Championships – PARIS’23. With us, he looks back on his adventure as a volunteer.

On the picture, we see Rene Legendre in the foreground with the Charlety stadium in the background. 
His hair is short and gray. A white beard and glasses. He also wears a navy blue t-shirt with a white Handisport logo

Hello René. To begin with, how long have you been volunteering?

René Legendre : « I’ve been doing it for most of my life. I inherited it from my father and I’ve always been in the coaching business. Whether as a sportsman or afterwards, but also in the accompaniment of children and the youngest. Afterwards, I have been working on major sports events for about fifteen years. »

How long have you been volunteering with the Handisport Federation?

R.L : « If I remember correctly, I started during the Handisport Open Paris in 2018 or 2019. Since then, I have never stopped being present for the events organized by the federation, at least I try. And then, I was proposed to become a member of the disciplinary commission of the FFH, proposal that I accepted. »

How did you discover the para sport world?

R.L : « I am myself in a situation of disability and as I am a marathon runner, I have participated in a lot of events by entering the handisport category. I started as a normal runner, but having difficulties with my balance, I applied to be in the handisport category. »

What made you want to continue the adventure with the French Handisport Federation?

R.L : « From a volunteer point of view, it is to be able to help the organizers and to feel useful. And in terms of handisport, because of my situation, I think that handisport is not highlighted enough and it is a way to support the success of events that are under the aegis of the French Handisport Federation. »

What are the different missions you have done?

R.L : « I’ve done a bit of everything. I started with missions of public reception, but also reception at the airport, etc. On the Handisport Open Paris, I was accompanying the jury on the good progress of the races. »

What has made the biggest impact on you as a volunteer?

R.L : « What I really liked was when the athletes were welcomed at the airport. What stands out is the kindness of the people, which is significant in the handisport world. I find that people are calmer, more receptive and more tolerant. I have not found this humility elsewhere. »

Did you make connections with other volunteers as you went along?

R.L : « Absolutely. Two years ago, a friend of mine created a group on WhatsApp and we try to go to events together. As we know each other very well, we can bring an extra efficiency for the organizers. »

What would you like to say to the general public to get them involved in the World Championships volunteer program?

R.L : « Volunteering is a gift of self. You have to get involved to find enrichment, a very pleasant atmosphere and exceptional encounters. It’s something I encourage people to do, because it allows us to see life differently by broadening our vision and perception of things. I will be there for the World Championships in 2023, and I encourage you to join us to live this adventure together. »