June 10, 2024

Greener Games and New Sports Await at Paris Summer Olympics

All eyes are on Paris, the host of this year's Summer Olympics. The Games return to Paris after a century, kicking off with the opening ceremony on July 26th and concluding on August 11th. Paris was chosen as the host city not only for its iconic landmarks but also for its vision of blending tradition with a new era of change. This year, we will see several changes in the sporting events and practices aimed at bringing a new level of sustainability to the Games.

paris summer olympics

New Sports in the Mix

Breakdancing, also known as "break," makes its Olympic debut this year. It gained significant attention during its introduction at the Buenos Aires 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games, leading to its inclusion in the Paris 2024 Olympic agenda. There will be two divisions: a men’s 16 B-Boys and a women’s 16 B-Girls, where competitors will face off one-on-one. Originating in the Bronx of New York in the 70s, this addition of break can be seen as an attempt to have the Olympics reach their target audience: the younger generation.

Surfing will return after being introduced at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but it will not take place on mainland France. Instead, surfing events will be in Teahupo’o, Tahiti in French Polynesia. This decision aims to increase engagement and showcase the diverse culture of France by bringing an Olympic event to a French territory. Several top surfers will return, including reigning Team USA gold medalist Carissa Moore and Brisa Hennessy, the Costa Rican who is currently the No. 1 female surfer in the world. With its stunning landscape and ideal wave conditions, the surfing competitions in Teahupo’o will be a must-watch for viewers worldwide.

After making its debut in Tokyo, skateboarding will be on the program again in Paris. A temporary venue has been constructed in Place de la Concorde, one of Paris' largest open spaces, for the competitions. This urban playground for athletes offers spectacular views of famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe and features stages for DJ sets and artist performances. The world's most famous skateboarders, including Great Britain's 15-year-old prodigy Sky Brown and USA pro Nyjah Huston, will compete in two categories: street and park, showcasing their best tricks.

paris summer olympics

Historic Shift: The Introduction of Prize Money

In addition to the excitement of new sports, prize money is another significant change on the horizon. For the first time in Olympic history, event winners will receive cash prizes in addition to medals. Track and field is the first sport to introduce prize money, with gold medalists earning $50,000. Silver and bronze medal prizes are expected to be introduced at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics. A total of $2.4 million for all track and field winners has been funded by World Athletics. This initiative aims to pave the way for future athletes to be rewarded for their contributions to the Olympic Games' global impact. However, the concept is not entirely new, as many countries and governments already reward their gold medal-winning athletes with money.

Swimming in the Seine

The IOC prioritizes sustainability when selecting host cities for future Olympics due to the environmental and financial costs of building new infrastructure. Paris aims to break the cycle of "white elephant" structures by ensuring 95% of their venues are temporary or preexisting, and intends to reduce carbon emissions by 50% compared to the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games. Despite plans to use the Seine River for open-water events, challenges arise due to historical pollution levels, with over $1.5 billion invested in treatment plans. President Emmanuel Macron and Mayor Anne Hidalgo's pledge to swim in the Seine reflects their commitment to addressing these concerns and meeting regulatory standards ahead of the Olympics.

paris summer olympics

The upcoming Paris 2024 Games will introduce many firsts, offering viewers a chance to see and appreciate numerous changes and additions, from sports to venues to the overall operation of the Games. Hosting the Olympics is no easy task, as previous host cities know well, but Paris aims to break that trend. As the city eagerly awaits the lighting of the ceremonial torch to commence the 2024 Summer Olympics, all eyes are on them to deliver the most "green" Games to date.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/track-and-field-sport-prize-money-olympics/
  2. https://www.espn.com/olympics/story/_/id/40238384/olympics-2024-iba-award-prize-money-boxing-medals
  3. https://www.nbcolympics.com/news/new-what-are-new-sports-and-events-2024-paris-olympics#:~:text=Other%20changes%20at%20the%202024,which%20will%20debut%20in%20Paris.
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/article/2024/may/24/olympic-games-clean-up-aims-to-leave-parisians-swimming-in-the-seine
  5. https://sports.yahoo.com/seine-still-failing-water-tests-191117973.html
  6. https://olympics.com/en/paris-2024/venues/teahupo-o-tahiti
  7. https://olympics.com/ioc/news/less-better-and-for-longer-five-ways-paris-2024-is-delivering-more-sustainable-games
  8. https://www.nbcolympics.com/news/skateboarding-2024-paris-olympic-games
  9. https://www.nbcolympics.com/news/surfing-101-us-olympic-roster-and-athlete-news

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