The long-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympics had us all enthralled in 2021 but thoughts are already turning to the next Summer Games. Following on from London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo 2020, now comes Paris 2024.
It will be the third time in total that Paris has hosted the Summer Olympics but the first time in 100 years by the time it is in progress – with the last occasion being in 1924.
As things stand, the International Olympic Committee is planning to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under a neutral flag, providing they have not publicly supported the invasion of Ukraine.
However, there are calls for a blanket ban on Russian athletes, notably from the Mayor of Paris.
When does Paris 2024 take place?
The 33rd Summer Olympic Games – or formally, the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad – will run from Friday July 26 2024 until Sunday August 11. As is tradition, the official Opening Ceremony will take place on Friday July 26.
Where will Paris 2024 take place?
The bulk of the action will take place in Paris, France. But there is plenty going on outside the metropolitan area of the city. Some will take place in Versailles on the outskirts and Football will take place in Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Saint-Étienne, Nice and Nantes in addition to Paris.
Handball will take place in Lille, various water sports a little further out in Vaires-sur-Marne, sailing in Marseille and, interestingly, surfing will take place in Tahiti, French Polynesia.
What is the latest news?
France has joined the UK Government in opposing plans that could allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Paris Games.
In a move that could place the host nation on a direct collision path with the International Olympic Committee, sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra has sided with a group of 30 countries, largely from Europe but also including the United States and Japan, who say that a sporting ban should remain in place while the Ukraine war continues.
France had previously delivered mixed signals, with president Emmanuel Macron emphasising how sport can bring people together but the Paris Mayor Anne Hildago has been steadfast in her opposition to athletes from Russia and Belarus being permitted to compete.
Ministers and representatives from more than 30 countries convened a virtual summit earlier this month after the IOC published plans for what it called a ‘pathway’ to include Russian and Belarusian athletes provided that they competed as ‘neutrals’ and had not overtly supported the war.
In its statement, which has taken 10 days to agree, the coalition of countries said that nothing had changed from last February when the IOC recommended a ban, in part because “many athletes from Ukraine are prevented from doing so [participating in sport events] because of the attack on their country”.
Even worse has actually unfolded, with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky telling the summit that 228 Ukrainian athletes and coaches have already died since the Russian invasion. The Ukrainian Ministry of Sport also say that 350 sports facilities have been destroyed, 40,000 athletes have been forced abroad and that 140,000 of their most promising young athletes have been left without training facilities.
The statement does still acknowledge that Russian and Belarusian athletes could compete as neutrals, subject to strict conditions, but questions whether this is ever feasible when they are directly funded and supported by their states.