Eiffel tower

Paris Olympics plan calls for Eiffel Tower volleyball and swimming in the Seine

This content was published on May 7, 2022 – 04:00

(Bloomberg) — Beach volleyball at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, fencing at the Grand Palais, archery at the Invalides and equestrian competitions in the gardens of Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles.

Although it’s two years away, the organizing committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games says it is on track to put in place the pieces of the summer event which it hopes will attract millions of visitors. After the Tokyo Olympics at the height of the pandemic, organizers hope the Paris Games will be different even as Europe grapples with a war in its backyard.

“We want to open the games to everyone,” said Tony Estanguet, three-time Olympic canoe-kayak champion and president of Paris 2024, during a press briefing Thursday in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of the French capital, where the committee is. based. “We are going to take the different sports out of the stadiums and into the city, amid its iconic landmarks.”

The 3.9 billion euros ($4.1 billion) budgeted for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games will come equally from the International Olympic Committee, private companies and ticket sales, Estanguet said.

“We are well on track with this budget despite all the difficulties with Covid and the international context,” he said.

Drugmaker Sanofi, utility Electricité de France SA and telephone operator Orange SA are among the partners in the games, according to the Paris 2024 website.

The opening ceremony will likely be the biggest in Games history, a 6-kilometre-long (3.7-mile) procession along the Seine with athletes parading on 160 boats from their national delegations. This event will be, for the most part, ticketless to attract a large number of people, including the less well-off.

New disciplines have been added, such as skateboarding, as the games embrace new sports that are all the rage on social media and among young people, Estanguet said.

Inclusive Games

In keeping with the times, the games are designed to be inclusive, sustainable and gender balanced.

About 95% of the infrastructure will be existing or temporary and all sites will be accessible by public transport, Estanguet said. For the first time, an equal number of male and female athletes will compete, he said. An effort is also being made to cap ticket prices, with the cheapest being 24 euros to make the games more affordable.

Challenges remain for Paris 2024 after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were delayed by a year due to Covid-19, and the Beijing Winter Olympics this year have been a muted affair due to pandemic restrictions . While 206 nations can participate, it is unclear if Russia will be excluded after its invasion of Ukraine. Estanguet declined to comment on Russia.

“We firmly believe that despite everything that is happening in the world, we must maintain the level of ambition in terms of celebrations,” he said.

Other problems could arise in a city that has faced terrorist attacks, violent demonstrations of yellow vests in recent years and a two-month transport strike that paralyzed the Paris region during the crucial holiday season. end of the year in 2019.

But Paris intends to present itself in its best light. President Emmanuel Macron, who won re-election last month, has pledged to reopen Notre Dame Cathedral in time for the Olympics after a fire tore through the historic site in 2019.

And it’s not just Paris hosting the Games: in addition to the swimming events in the capital’s Seine, there will be sailing in Marseille, handball in the northern city of Lille and even surfing in Teahupo. ‘o, Tahiti, the first host country. organizes a competition in an overseas territory.

It “will showcase the best of France,” Estanguet said.

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