Paris 2024 rejects surfing speculation as IOC completes visit

The local organising committee of the 2024 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games has confirmed that surfing events will be held on natural waves at a venue outside of Paris, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rounded off its latest inspection visit by stating “steady progress” has been made in a “very short” amount of time.

The second Coordination Commission meeting for Paris 2024 concluded in Marseille yesterday (Wednesday), with the surfing site a number of developments to emerge. Surfing, along with skateboarding, sport climbing and breakdancing, is one of four proposed extra sports for Paris 2024, with their approval expected to be confirmed at the IOC Session in Lausanne on June 24-26.

Surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing will make their Olympic Games debuts at Tokyo 2020, and recent reports have suggested that Sevran Terre d’Eaux, a €250m ($282.2m) surf park complex under development in the northeastern suburbs of Paris could host surfing at the 2024 Games.

However, Tony Estanguet, president of Paris 2024, said yesterday: “It was decided at the last Paris 2024 Board of Directors meeting not to use an artificial wave to host the surfing events and instead favour a natural site. We are fortunate in France to have several natural sites that have the experience and expertise to host major international surfing events.”

Pending approval from the IOC, three sites have already applied to host surfing at Paris 2024 – Biarritz, in partnership with the three communes of Landes (Capbreton-Hossegor-Seignosse); along with Lacanau (Gironde) and the site of La Torche (Finistère).

However, the Mayor of Sevran, Stephane Blanchet, retains hope that the new complex could still play a part in Paris 2024. “The door that Terre d’Eaux is designated a training site of the Olympics, or serve the Paralympic Games, is not closed,” he said, according to French newspaper Le Parisien.

In other news from yesterday’s meeting, the Olympic Village will be reduced in scale from 17,000 to 14,000 beds. This is said to have been decided as Olympic delegations are likely to prefer staying in accommodation closer to the respective sport venues.

In Marseille, the Coordination Commission visited the proposed venues for football and sailing, the Velodrome Stadium and the city’s marina. A core objective for Paris 2024 is to ensure that the Games are organised in a sustainable way that will benefit the citizens of France for decades to come.

As such, Paris 2024 presented its carbon neutral strategy, and reported on the creation of an endowment fund that will be used to help fund legacy projects linked to Paris 2024. SOLIDEO, the public body responsible for managing development operations ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, updated the Coordination Commission on advancements made in the development of an innovative and sustainable Olympic Village.

Estanguet said: “A year after we laid the foundations of the Organising Committee, this second meeting has been looking outwards, towards the public at large. We have made the goal of engaging with the sports movement, the public authorities and the people of France one of our main priorities.

“This desire to get the population involved from the outset is a reflection of our ambition to offer Games that are different, and which make creativity the Paris 2024 hallmark. This desire to innovate and surprise spans every part of our project, for example the opening of some of the Games events to the general public or the celebratory dimension of our project, placing sport at the heart of the city, which has never been done on such a scale before.”

IOC Coordination Commission chair, Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, added: “Paris 2024’s vision that ‘sport can change lives’ is evident in so many of its projects, especially ones like Terre de Jeux 2024; the Organising Committee’s approach for an open and inclusive economic development and employment plan; the proposal to host mass participation events at Games time; and its ambitious plans for Olympic Day. Each one of these is a symbol for how Paris 2024 is uniting and engaging the country behind the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Paris 2024 has made steady progress in a very short amount of time.”

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