Now that the Tokyo Summer Olympics, originally scheduled for 2020, have been wrapped up with a bow, sports fans are already looking ahead to the 2024 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Paris. Here are some things you should know about the upcoming games.
France’s capital previously hosted the Olympics in 1900 and 1924, and 2024 will mark it as the second city in the world, after London, to host the games three times.
The logo for the games, lovingly mocked by many online, mixes images of a flame and a woman’s silhouette, inspired by France’s national icon, La Marianne. Some have said it resembles a dating app icon more than a prestigious athletic logo.
The games are estimated to generate €10.7 billion, and create more than 250,000 jobs in the Ile-de-France region. President of the French NOC, Denis Masseglia, said: “The Olympic and Paralympic Games can be a great accelerator for development and sport would be a major benefactor in this process, both in terms of infrastructure, facilities and improving quality of life.”
As we have become more conscious of the global impact of events of this size and scope, however, the Paris Olympics are looking to make a few changes to the form. The Olympics are known for being hotbeds of waste and destruction, often razing ecosystems to the ground to build brand new stadiums that turn into ghost towns just weeks later. The Summer 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021) were meant to be the most ecologically sound Olympics ever, using recycled materials for medals, using 100% renewable energy, and having athletes sleep on cardboard beds.
Paris is taking Tokyo’s example, but looking to go one step further. Instead of building a brand new stadium, the city will be using the Stade de France, built in 1995, for most of its events, and will spread the remainder throughout the city. The Place de la Concorde, Château de Versailles, and Grand Palais will all be used for various athletic events, reducing the number of new structures that will need to be built for the games. And the opening ceremony? Well, it’ll be on the Seine, of course.
This all falls in line with France’s current green wave, spearheaded by Paris mayor and prospective presidential candidate, Anne Hidalgo. Hidalgo has been a champion of tough environmental reform, pedestrianizing central Paris and striving to clear cars from the city streets.
The games will be cheaper than their previous counterparts, with a budget of $4.6 billion (the Tokyo Olympics cost $15.4 billion). Much of that money will be spent investing in development of the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis. Part of the city’s infamous banlieue, Seine-Saint-Denis is a low-income neighborhood most center-city dwellers would avoid if possible. The main structural improvement it received over the last few decades has been the construction of the Stade de France, where much of the games will take place.
Wherever a city makes improvements, gentrification is sure to follow. Some Parisians and Saint-Denis residents, like the members of the group Non aux JO 2024 à Paris, say that the games will drive real estate speculation in this multicultural and affordable neighborhood.
Part of the money invested in the games was intended to go to the completion of the Grand Paris Express, a system of new metro lines considered the most ambitious transportation project in Europe. The new metro lines would connect the suburbs to the city, and make it easier to reach airports and other critical junctures. However, the project will no longer be finished in time for the games, asking the question of how much of a burden this will put on existing metro lines and car travel.
The 2024 Paris Summer Olympics will run from Friday, July 26, to Sunday, August 11, 2024.