Paris to open its Olympic Games on the Seine

The opening ceremony will be on July 26 and for the first time in history it will not be held at the Olympic stadium

PARIS – The Paris Olympic Games will hold its opening ceremony on July 26, 2024 on the River Seine, an innovation that aims to show a message of democratization, since it will be free for hundreds of thousands of spectators, and to place the event in the heart of the city.

This was expressed by the president of the Organizing Committee, Tony Estanguet, after signing the protocol on Monday that authorizes that, For the first time in history, the opening ceremony is not held in the Olympic stadium.

Paris, which had launched this idea a long time ago, based, among others, on that of the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Games, has been overcoming the obstacles that were presented to it, essentially for reasons of security and economic profitability.

Estanguet presented the main lines of the ceremony in which the athletes, instead of parading through the Olympic track, will travel in 160 boats the waters of the Seine, which will be flanked by some 600,000 spectators who will be added to those who will be able to see it through television all over the world.

“For the first time it will also be the athletes who open the ceremony and not those who close it,” said Estanguet. “We want athletes to be at the heart of the Games and offer them the best experience,” he added.

The lower part of the banks of the Sign It will be reserved for seats that can be purchased, but the upper part will be freely accessible, which sends a message that “the opening ceremony is not something closed to a few,” said the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.

The parade will start on the Austerlitz Bridge in eastern Paris, and it will travel six kilometers along the river until it ends in front of the Eiffel Tower, after visiting some of the most emblematic monuments of the French capital.

In parallel, acrobatic and sports shows will be organized at some points along the route or on some of the many bridges that cross over the river.

Later, the artistic part of the ceremony will begin, which Estanguet assured is yet to be defined, but which, he said, “will be spectacular because it offers an extraordinary setting.”

Attendees will witness different performances, while 80 giant screens will allow them to live more closely.

The president of the Organizing Committee pointed out that, in this way, they will try to give rhythm to ceremonies that “sometimes have problems maintaining it.”

Hidalgo did not hide his enthusiasm for a project that fuels the efforts that the Mayor’s Office has been making to praise the Sign, which promised to clean up before 2024 to make it suitable for bathers.

“In this way we also send a message to the world that we must reconcile with the environment,” said the councilor, who is currently immersed in the pre-campaign for the 2024 presidential elections as a candidate for the Socialist Party.

The mayor indicated that with this “brilliant project” of taking the opening ceremony out of the stadium “a message of democratization of the Games is sent”, although she indicated that they are working so that Paris can send others, “of humanity, of openness to the world,” to share”.

“These Games are going to mark the world for the beauty of the spectacle and for the power of the message that we want to send through them,” he said.

With this groundbreaking opening ceremony Paris It continues its line of innovation, which has led it to adopt other decisions, such as including sports such as break dancing in its Olympic program or taking surfing to the waters of Tahiti, in French Polynesia.

Estanguet did not reveal one of the secrets that organizers always keep, that of the olympic flame. “We will decide that in 2024,” said the former French Olympic canoeing medalist.

In addition, he indicated that no decisions have yet been made on the closing ceremony or on the two that will frame the Paralympic Games.

But he was pleased that the public authorities have agreed to alleviate the problems that this ceremony raised in the Sign, both in budgetary and security terms, which will require an effort ten times greater than that necessary to carry it out in the stadium.

The Minister of Sports, Roxana Maracineanu, an Olympic medalist in swimming and who also participated in the presentation, guaranteed the support of the Government and the President, Emmanuel Macron, “enthusiastic” of the idea.