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One yr to go: Will the Paris 2024 Olympics see a return to normalcy?

We have not had a “normal” Olympic Games for the reason that 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The 2020 Tokyo Summer Games and the 2022 Beijing Winter Games have been each affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to vital modifications and schedule disruptions.

There have been just about no spectators, strict COVID-19 protocols for anybody concerned within the Games, funds points, no company hospitality, diminished neighborhood engagement and a lackluster environment within the two host cities.

But there’s hope for a return to a extra conventional and pleasurable Games with the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics. With 10 million tickets accessible, spectators will probably be again in stadiums.

Up to 600,000 spectators will probably be allowed on the opening ceremony in July 2024 which, for the primary time in historical past, will not happen in a stadium, however alongside the Seine River in northern France. Athletes will parade six kilometres alongside the river earlier than arriving on the Trocadero, the place the ultimate elements of the ceremony will happen.

Athletes and sports activities

Since pandemic restrictions are now not in place, competing on the Olympics and residing within the Athlete’s Village will probably be a significantly better expertise for athletes, who will be capable of freely combine and mingle once more.

There will probably be 32 sports activities and 329 occasions on the Paris Games. Karate, baseball and softball have been dropped. Hoping to draw a youthful viewers, breakdancing – often called “breaking” – will make its first Olympic look.

Sport climbing, browsing and skateboarding, all of which made their debut at Tokyo 2020 (held in 2021), will stay in Paris. In the persevering with push for gender fairness, there will probably be equal numbers of female and male athletes for the primary time.

In the hopes of getting as clear a Games as potential, strict doping controls will as soon as once more be in place for Paris. Due to classy laboratory testing, some cheats will inevitably be caught – if not in the course of the Games, then afterwards.

The Canadian males’s 4×100-metre relay workforce, for instance, simply obtained their upgraded silver medals for the Tokyo Games after the British workforce examined constructive for doping.

Russian and Belarusian athletes

A chief query is whether or not, and on what phrases, athletes from Russia and Belarus will compete on the Games. Athletes from each international locations have been successfully banned from worldwide competitors within the aftermath of Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) strongly advisable banning athletes from each international locations from the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, with the International Paralympic Committee following swimsuit days later.

Since then, the IOC has confronted strain from either side. On the one facet, a number of Baltic leaders have threatened to boycott the Games if Russians and Belarusians are allowed to compete. On the opposite, human rights teams have been advocating that particular person athletes not face discrimination primarily based on their nationality.

The International Olympic Committee has tried to strike a steadiness between continued help for Ukrainian athletes with out “punishing athletes for the acts of their governments,” as IOC President Thomas Bach acknowledged.

Read extra: Refugee workforce presents a manner for Russian and Belarusian dissidents to compete on the Paris Olympics

The IOC has the last word authority as to who won’t obtain formal invites to compete within the Paris Games, and it had earlier acknowledged that it’s going to not invite Russia and Belarus to the 2024 Olympics.

While a remaining choice in regards to the scenario is unlikely to be made earlier than the autumn, Ukraine’s current about-face to permit its athletes to compete in opposition to Russians and Belarusians reveals the scenario’s complexity.

Olympic tradition

As the host metropolis, Paris will probably be buzzing with pleasure, providing a wide range of Olympic actions. These embody particular fan zones, free viewings of the Olympic Torch Relay and opening ceremonies, entry to hospitality homes and alternatives to go to sponsor websites like Samsung, Visa and Pride House.

Plus, there’s the Cultural Olympiad program that started simply after the Tokyo Games completed. This program gives alternatives for host international locations to “start new conversations between sporting and cultural circles during the four years building up to the Games then until the closing ceremony.”

Record-breaking media protection

While the Tokyo and Beijing Games nonetheless had in depth media protection, the upcoming Paris Games are anticipated to have probably the most protection out of any Olympics.

By May, Paris organizers had bought 6.8 million tickets – about 70 per cent of the whole stock. And in July, the president of the Paris Olympics organizing committee stated they’d handed the €1 billion (C$1.5 billion) mark in secured sponsorship income.

Coca-Cola, the longest standing Olympic sponsor since 1928, is an official non-alcoholic beverage sponsor and the foremost sponsor of the Olympic Torch Relay and pin buying and selling centres. Coke’s advertising settlement extends to 2032 and is estimated to be price a whopping $3 billion.

The return of company sponsorships will even embody in depth company hospitality and packages from main sponsors, together with Visa, Coke, Samsung and others.

Security on the Games

From the French Revolution to the trendy day, Paris undoubtedly has a robust historical past of social demonstrations. Recent occasions have raised the query of whether or not this propensity will play out in the course of the Paris 2024 Games.

In July, widespread protests and demonstrations occurred after police shot and killed 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk, a French citizen of Moroccan and Algerian descent, illustrating how fraught tensions are between racialized communities and regulation enforcement in France.

As for the potential for demonstrations occurring in the course of the 2024 Olympics, it nonetheless stays to be seen. Whether or not they’re to be anticipated, a heavy anti-terrorism safety presence will be anticipated, as has grow to be the norm in current a long time at mega sport occasions.

On the constructive facet, current investigations into corruption at French sport’s highest ranges might result in improved transparency concerning corruption in organizing committees because the Games method.

One yr to go

The 2024 Paris Olympics ought to see a return to normalcy in comparison with the final two video games. Although trepidation exists, with one yr to go anxieties are regular.

As Paris prepares to host its third Olympics (1904, 1924, 2024) – solely the second metropolis to realize this milestone after London (1908, 1948, 2012) – there’s optimism the occasion will run easily.

The legacy of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the French founding father of the trendy Olympic Games, and the Olympic Movement ought to proceed unabated.

Authors: Angela Schneider – Director, International Centre for Olympic Studies, Western University | Alan C Oldham – PhD Student, International Centre for Olympic Studies, Western University | Richard Baka – Adjunct Fellow, Olympic Scholar and Co-Director of the Olympic and Paralympic Research Centre, Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University