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Paris 2024 Olympics: Torch Relay, Opening Ceremony Plans, and More Updates

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Paris 2024 Olympics Torch Relay, Opening Ceremony Plans, and More Updates

Paris 2024 Olympics is just around the corner.

On Tuesday, the Olympic torch was lit in ancient Olympia to begin a relay through Greece and France that will end in Paris on 26 July for the Games.

There will be an Olympics from 26 July to 11 August and a Paralympics from 28 August to 8 September.

Everything you need to know about the Games is updated as the opening ceremony approaches.

What happens when the torch is lit?

Before being passed to the first torchbearer, the torch was lit at the spot originally used for the Olympic Games.

Before the torch travels to France on a three-masted ship, the Belem, an 11-day relay began in Greece.

There will be sailing competitions in Marseille on the French leg of the relay.

The torch will travel across 64 French territories before lighting the Olympic flame in the capital city, officially starting the games.

What is planned for the opening ceremony?

The plan promises “an opening ceremony like no other”: 10,500 athletes, 160 boats, 3.7 miles along the Seine.

There will be 1 billion people watching from around the world and 326,000 people attending—down from the 600,000 originally planned.

Olympic opening ceremonies will be held outside stadiums for the first time on 26 July.

Trocadero Square, facing the Eiffel Tower, is where the parade ends.

Security threats can ruin even the best-laid plans.

President Macron says the ceremony could be scaled back if the security threat is too high.

There are “plans B and C”, the French leader said. That could mean moving the event indoors to the Stade de France or keeping it at the Trocadero.

Problems with the Seine

France isn’t just dealing with the opening ceremony.

Poor water quality might cause the triathlon to be delayed or the swimming leg to be canceled.

Swimming could be unsafe if there’s a lot of rain.

According to Surfrider Foundation Europe, water samples from the Seine showed dangerous levels of bacteria.

As a result of finding E. coli, enterococci, intestinal bacteria, and “formidable indicators of faecal pollution”, the charity said swimmers would be at risk.

Before the Games start, Anne Hidalgo and Macron will dip into the river to prove it’s safe.

The new sport at the Games

Paris will be the first Olympics to feature breaking – also called breakdancing.

Breaking athletes are called B-Boys and B-Girls. This competition will feature 16 B-Boys and 16 B-Girls.

Five categories will be judged: musicality, vocabulary, originality, technique, and execution.

The sport of breaking joins skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing, and BMXing as recent “urban” sports.

Games in a time of war

Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to compete.

If they win medals, they won’t be allowed to parade in the opening ceremony, their national anthem won’t be played, and their flag won’t be raised.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made this decision.

As part of the Games, Mr Macron said Russia would have to observe a ceasefire in Ukraine.

Ancient Greece usually suspended armed conflicts during the Olympics.

According to the Kremlin, Ukraine might use a ceasefire to regroup and rearm.

The IOC said it has no plans to sanction Israel over the Gaza war, despite calls from Palestinian activists and 26 French politicians.

How is Paris preparing for the Games?

9,000 athletes will live in the Olympic Village in Seine-Saint-Denis, northeast of Paris.

A bridge linking the accommodation blocks across the River Seine is about the size of 70 football pitches.

6,000 people will live in the village after the Games, and 6,000 workers will work there.

In Seine-Saint-Denis, mainland France’s poorest region, more than half of the structures are being built or renovated.

In what advocates said appeared to be a policy aimed at beautifying the area, dozens of squats were cleared in 2023 as the Games left a legacy of new and renovated sports facilities.

During the Games, metro tickets will almost double in price from €2.10 (£1.80) to €4 (£3.40).

City mayor Anne Hidalgo and region president Valerie Pecresse have disagreed over whether the city’s transport system can handle the influx of tourists.

In comparison, the mayor says there won’t be enough trains, according to Ms Pecresse, whose regional council is in charge of transport.

Another big issue is the homeless situation in the city, according to Ms Hidalgo.

She said, “The Olympics should have a social legacy, not be taken out and hidden.”

Police reportedly evicted homeless people from makeshift camps in France ahead of the Olympics to “hide poverty”.

It’s not just Bordeaux, a shanty town next to the stadium was also cleared, according to a report by a group of charities. The French government denies the charges.

Will Notre Dame reopen in time for the Games?

One of Paris’s most famous landmarks is Notre Dame, with its twin bell towers rising above the Seine.

Since a devastating fire toppled the spire five years ago, it’s been closed to the public.

Macron promised to rebuild the church within five years after the April 2019 blaze – a pledge many questioned.

Although the cathedral won’t be open for the Olympics—its reopening is scheduled for December—the scaffolding has been removed so the new spire can be seen.

What about bedbugs?

Bedbugs ravaged Paris last autumn, but London was just as bad.

In a letter to Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne, Paris deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire called on her to deal with the “scourge” before the Olympics.

“Bed bugs are a public health issue,” he wrote.

“France must put together a plan to address this scourge as it prepares to host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2024.”

Authorities said there was no unusual outbreak after the initial panic.

Earlier this year, a French minister claimed Russian “disinformation” accounts artificially boosted the bedbug scare.

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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