Today, Paris 2024 has taken another step towards achieving its plans for a spectacular event, with its Executive Board approving of two new iconic sites to be proposed to the IOC to host the additional sports.
The Paris 2024 Executive Board, which met this morning, took two key decisions regarding the concept of the Olympic Games.
The Board approved the choice of Tahiti as the site for the surfing competitions. This vote ratifies the recommendation of Paris 2024, after a methodical analysis of the five candidate sites (Biarritz Pays Basque, Lacanau-Bordeaux Métropole, La Torche, Hossegor-Seignosse-Capbreton and Tahiti), begun in July this year, and carried out by Paris 2024 in close collaboration with the International Surfing Association (ISA) and The French Olympic Committee (CNOSF). Five main criteria were used to evaluate the applications, using a methodology that was praised by the IOC:
- Competition/Sporting experience
- Operational areas/Spectator experience
- Alignment with the Paris 2024 vision for sustainable and spectacular Games
- Financial impact
- Accommodation for athletes and accredited persons.
Exceptional competition conditions
While all five applications from the candidate sites were of high standard, the Tahiti site particularly stood out because of the exceptional competition conditions it offers athletes. The Teahupo’o wave is
internationally recognised as among the best in the world for surfing, it offers optimal sporting conditions that are both fair and selective, as expected at an Olympic level. The Tahiti site is indeed better situated to guarantee, at that time of year (during the Games, July 26 / August 11) a competitive and challenging wave, allowing to crown the best surfers in conditions worthy of the Games. The choice of the Teahupo’o wave was also welcomed by the best surfers in the world via the ISA’s very own Athletes Commission.
Opportunity to experience the second week of the Games in Paris
The consistency and the quality of the Teahupo’o wave, at this time of the year, in the middle of Tahiti’s high surf season, should ensure that the Olympic competition will take place over one week. All 48 athletes competing will thus have the opportunity to spend the second week of the Games in the Olympic Village, with their respective delegations, in Paris and in Seine Saint-Denis, and to take part in the closing ceremony.
Overseas territories play a full part in the Games
By choosing the Teahupo’o site, Paris 2024 also made the strong choice to return to one of the cradles of surfing, French Polynesia. This site, which fits perfectly with the vision of Paris 2024, will strengthen the spectacular nature of the project, showing the world some extraordinary images not only of the discipline itself, but of France as well. The choice of Tahiti as a site is a way of involving a new geographical area, using France’s overseas territories and their people as a location for the first time in the history of the Games, and showcasing the wealth and diversity of France and its culture to be found outside the continent. It will allow Paris 2024 to resonate all the way to the heart of the Pacific Ocean and organise sporting and popular celebrations day and night during the Games.
An unspoiled venue
With Tahiti, Paris 2024 has opted for a well-preserved “reef break” site in an exceptional natural setting. With its specific topography as a sensitive coastal area with limited capacity, the competition will adapt to the site and not the other way around. This tailor-made configuration will be able to limit the carbon impact of the surfing competition in Tahiti. Teahupo’o being in the lower range of the five candidate sites. Paris 2024 thus reinforces its ambition to organise sustainable Games aligned with their times, on an environmental scale as well as economically and socially.
Priority was also given to the preservation of the site and the legacy left for the territory and its people:
- With a concept for an athletes’ village consisting of temporary modular houses (“Fare”) that will be dismantled after the competition and rebuilt in Tahiti and the islands as social housing
- With a limited impact on the ecologically sensitive coastal area, the wave being offshore.
Concorde, the first urban sports stadium in the heart of the city
As well as the Tahiti site, the Paris 2024 Executive Board this morning ratified the choice of another, equally iconic, site for urban sports.
Place de la Concorde, which joins the world’s most beautiful avenue, the Champs-Elysées, to the Tuileries Gardens, will become a spectacular arena in the heart of the city, showcasing the Parisian heritage and offering exceptional images of the event. This iconic site will highlight the project’s spectacular and popular dimension as the setting for a programme of sports and celebrations never seen before.
While it is still too soon to give an exact list of the sports and disciplines to be seen there during the Games, this 35,000-seat stadium will provide a totally new experience and attract new types of spectators.
This unique concept in the heart of Paris will foster the sharing of resources in a way that is completely in line with the new norm promoted by the IOC. This mutualisation of resources will keep costs and impact down and facilitate the set-up, supply and transport operations, unlike the scattering of these activities over several sites.
The Tahiti site (surfing) and the Concorde site (urban sports) must now be validated by the IOC Executive Board, which will meet in Lausanne in January, prior to the Youth Olympic Games. We will then have to wait until December 2020 for the final version of the events programme for the Paris 2024 Games, and for confirmation that the four additional sports proposed by Paris 2024 (breaking, climbing, skateboarding and surfing) will be included in the Games.
The Executive Board also approved the transfer of the Paris2024 Headquarters to Saint-Denis (93) at the end of 2020, the paralympic concept, the key strategic directions and the 2020 budget that is fully aligned with the multi-year financial trajectory that was presented in January 2019.