SPORT – From the magnificent Palace of Versailles to the Stade de France and the home of French tennis at Roland-Garros, FRANCE 24’s sports editor James Vasina visits the major sites that will host Olympic events during the Paris 2024 games and the opening ceremony, one year ahead of what promises to be a global sports extravaganza.
Palace of Versailles (show jumping, dressage)
“The Château de Versailles is an absolute showpiece of a site to hold the equestrian events,” states FRANCE 24’s Sports Reporter, James Vasina.
“Showjumping will be taking place in front of the Grand Canal, as will the dressage, while the cross-country will be taking the athletes all around the canal,” he added.
Alexandre III Bridge (marathon swimming, triathlon)
The historic Alexandre III Bridge crossing the River Seine in the heart of Paris will provide a view of numerous Olympic events taking place in the world-famous river including marathon swimming, triathlon and the opening ceremony.
“This is going to be the first time the Opening Ceremony will take place outside of a stadium,” reports Vasina. “This is not just a logistical headache but in terms of security, it is going to be very complex.”
Roland-Garros (tennis, boxing)
“From what we’ve heard from organisers here everything is pretty much ready,” said Vasina reporting from the home of French tennis.
“Big refurbishments took place over the last few years with another retractable roof on the central court and refurbishments around the rest of the courts.”
Stade de France (athletics)
There is “a lot of work still to be done” to convert Paris’s Stade de France into an Olympics venue before 2024 says Vasina. The stadium was originally built when France hosted the football World Cup in 1998.
“They need to modernise the stadium a little bit. The track around it is going to be refurbished and they’re going to add an extra ninth lane to it because this is where the athletics are going to be held,” Vasina added.
The River Seine (opening ceremony)
The River Seine will host the opening ceremony of the 2024 Olympics with spectators watching from the quays as a flotilla of boats travels six kilometres from east to west. The first ever Olympic opening ceremony to take place outside of a stadium will require an exceptional feat of organisation.
“On the boats is going to be the usual dancing and everything that you would see within what would normally be a stadium,” said Vasina. “On top of that there’s the security side, everything is going to be broadcast and everything is going to have to be tied down to absolute perfection.”