The Seine River will be the emblematic setting where the opening ceremony will take place on July 26, 2024
The swimming program of the first Olympic Games of the modern era, 1896 in Athens, had several peculiarities. On one hand, only four tests were carried out, all of them for men. On the other hand, since the idea of an Olympic swimming pool did not yet exist, the competitions were held in the Aegean Sea, in the Bay of Zea. With an unconventional design – without a return wall, just some ropes stretched between the boats serving as a reference to complete each section – all the complaints revolved around the temperature of the water, which in no case did it exceed 12 degrees Celsius. Keep in mind that, for a long time, the suggestion has been that the temperature should not be below 25C.
The first test in history was won by the Hungarian Alfred Hajos, who did not stop singing his country’s anthem despite the fact that, at the coronation, the official band sang the Austrian one. Now that I think about it… Were there winning ceremonies back then? Is this confusion between hymns another of the many unverifiable legends of Olympism?
Since then, the relationship between games and water has gone through different stages.
For example, when open water tests were carried out in Beijing in an artificial canal whose waters could have anything but be open.
Or in London, when the 10km test was carried out in the enchanting environment of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, again, with several complaints about the low water temperature.
Rio 2016 had its thing. Both the water marathon and the triathlon stage were held by taming the currents of the Atlantic Ocean on the beaches of Forte Copacabana.
Now, on the way to Paris 2024, water is once again the protagonist and not just because of the competitions themselves.
The opening ceremony in Paris 2024 promises to be spectacular and unique. The traditional parade of the delegations will not be in a stadium but will be moved to the emblematic Seine River and everything that will be historic will also be complex. That is why, just over a year before the start of the Olympic Games, the first test was held.
The week in Paris didn’t start like the previous ones. Sailing stopped last Monday so that 39 ships, on which the athletes will be on July 26, 2024, would parade between the Austerlitz Bridge and the Jena Bridge. The fleet (it would be only half of what it will finally be on the day of the inauguration) was accompanied by other vessels from the organization and the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS). “We must also try a new way of recording the ceremony,” explained Thierry Reboul, director of events and ceremonies. The way in which such an event will be televised is one of the great challenges.
So far, little else is known about the opening. This first test was used to observe the maneuvers of the boats and the duration of the route, of about six kilometers. There would be two passes that the athletes will make. Meanwhile, nothing was revealed about the show that will be led by theater director Thomas Jolly.
The boats crossed the Seine River from the Austerlitz Bridge to the Jena
Zodiac boats from the prefecture and the Paris firefighters were also part of the trial. Safety at the opening ceremony is another concern. “We have never organized such an army,” admitted Marc Guillaume, prefect of the Île-de-France region.
“We’ll be ready,” Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said in an interview with France Info radio. The French Government will mobilize about 45,000 police and gendarmes for the security of an event where hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected at the places with free access.
The most exclusive package offered by the hospitality program costs 9,500 euros (plus taxes) and spectators will have a privileged 360° panoramic view from the Puente del Alma. In addition, 7,500 euros will cost to reserve a place in the grandstand that will be installed in the Tokyo Palace in front of the Eiffel Tower and for 5000 euros you can buy a ticket at the Casa de América Latina, in front of the Place de la Concorde. In addition, for 90 euros, other points on the banks of the Seine River will be accessed to follow the opening ceremony with giant screens. The experience, without a doubt, will be unique.
There will be 45 police officers assigned to the security of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games
A few days ago, the news confirmed that in a few years it will be possible to swim again in the waters of the Seine.
Whether you hear about Rive Gauche, Rive Droite or Bateau Mouche, it was about time that we could try to swim to L’Ile de la Cité.