Key dates to remember ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris

Paris is gearing up for a summer of sports as it prepares to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The city is already abuzz with preparations for the opening ceremony, test events and the journey of the Olympic torch relay. FRANCE 24 takes a look at the key dates leading up to start of the 2024 Summer Games.

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The countdown is on. On July 26, 2024, the Summer Olympics will kick off in Paris, followed shortly after by the Paralympic Games. For nearly a month the French capital will become the focus of international sport as it hosts more than 300 competitions between July 26 and August 11.

July 9-16, 2023: Marseilles sailing test event

The Paris 2024 Organising Committee is holding a sailing test event in Marseilles to evaluate the infrastructure and racing areas in preparation for the Olympic Games.

July 26, 2023: D-365 to the Olympic Games

On July 26, 2023, the 365-day countdown to the official start of the Games in Paris begins, coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of the last Summer Games held on French soil. FRANCE 24 will dedicate a special day across its platforms to celebrate the event.

August 17-20, 2023: Paris triathlon test event

Paris and its iconic Alexandre III bridge will host an Olympic and Paralympic Games triathlon test event from August 17-20. Individual races will take place on August 17 and 18, a para-triathlon will be held on the 19th and the mixed relay on August 20.

July 26 and 27, 2023: French youth golf championships

The Olympic configuration of the Golf National de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines will be put to the test during the French Youth Championship on July 26 and 27.

August 2-6, 2023: World Rowing Under 19 Championship

Vaires-sur-Marne stadium will host tests for sprint canoeing, slalom canoeing and rowing events. Rowing will serve as the inaugural test event for Paris 2024 during the U19 World Championships.  

August 5-6, 2023: Fourth stage of the open water world cup

A round of the Open Water Swimming World Cup will take place in the Seine near Alexandre III bridge.

August 11-20, 2023: World surfing league (WSL) stopover in Tahiti

Even France’s overseas territories will get a taste of Olympic fever, hosting surfing events in Tahiti, French Polynesia, on the legendary Teahupo’o wave. The WSL 2023 will assess the venue’s Olympic preparations in coordination with the Paris Olympic committee.

August 19- 20, 2023: Fourth stage of the archery world cup

Archery will take centre stage against the backdrop of the iconic Paris Les Invalides landmark. The fourth leg of the 2023 World Cup will be held in Paris, offering a glimpse at the future archery venue for the Games.

August 28, 2023: 365 Days until the Paralympic Games

Since their first appearance in Rome in 1960, the Paralympic Games have grown in importance. As the world’s leading parasport event, they are a unique opportunity for athletes with disabilities. One year before the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games, FRANCE 24 will dedicate a special edition to this event.

August 30 to September 1, 2023: Canoeing and para-canoeing World Cups

Following rowing events, the Vaires-sur-Marne Olympic site will test sprint canoeing and para-canoeing during the World Cup held at the centre.

September 2023: Volunteers receive their assignments

Between September and the end of the year, the Paris organising committee will notify the 45,000 selected volunteers for the Olympic Games about their specific assignments. However, some may be called upon during the summer to participate in test events, such as the sailing event in Marseilles or the triathlon in Paris.

September 23 and 24, 2023: MTB test event

This will be a dress rehearsal for the Olympic Games. A preparatory race for the mountain bike event of Paris 2024 will be held on September 23-24 at Élancourt Hill, the highest point in the Île-de-France region, located in the Yvelines department.

October 5-8, 2023: Canoe slalom world cup finals

The final test event at the Vaires-sur-Marne centre will be the canoe slalom World Cup finals.

October 9, 2023: Paralympic Games tickets open

Official ticket sales for the Paralympic Games, scheduled from August 28 to September 8, 2024, will open this October 9. Half of the tickets available for sale will be priced at €25 or less.

April 8-14, 2024: Event at Châteauroux national shooting centre

Test competitions are scheduled to take place at the Châteauroux national shooting centre in Indre from April 8-14, 2024.

April 29, 2024: 100 days until the Olympic Games

From April 29 to May 8, 2024: Olympic aquatic centre test event

The final venue to be completed, the Saint-Denis Olympic Aquatic Centre, will be put to the test with targeted events featuring artistic swimming, diving and water polo from April 29 to May 8, 2024.

May 4-5, 2024: Field hockey test event

Yves-du-Manoir stadium in Colombes will be put to the test with an international field hockey tournament from May 4-5, 2024. While the venue may have changed since the 1924 Olympic Games, it remains a direct legacy of the last Summer Olympics in the French capital.

May 8, 2024: Arrival of the Olympic flame in Marseilles

After a 10-day journey from Greece on the Belém, one of Europe‘s oldest three-masted sailing ships, the Olympic flame will arrive in France. Marseilles, with its strong historical ties to Greece, will first welcome the flame to its shores before it embarks on the 775km (480 mile) journey to the capital.

July 14, 2024: Arrival of the Olympic flame in Paris

After traversing more than 60 French departments, the Olympic flame will arrive in Paris on July 14, the Bastille Day national holiday.

July 24, 2024: Start of events

Some team sports will kick off even before the opening ceremony. The Rugby 7s and soccer matches will begin on July 24, while handball starts the following day.

July 26, 2024: Olympic Games opening ceremony

Paris will kick off the Games with a spectacular opening ceremony on July 26, 2024. Organised outside of a stadium for the first time, the ceremony will start at 8:24pm as approximately 100 boats carrying the athlete delegations set sail down the Seine from Pont d’Austerlitz in the east to the Eiffel Tower.

August 11, 2024: Olympic Games closing ceremony

The closing ceremony of the Paris Olympics will take place at the Stade de France, but it won’t mark the end of the Olympic sequence as the Paralympic Games will take some 17 days later.

August 28, 2024: Paralympic Games opening ceremony

As one competition ends, another begins. The first-ever French Paralympic Games will open on August 28 for 11 days of competition with an open-air ceremony between the Champs-Élysées and Place de la Concorde.

September 8, 2024: Paralympic Games closing ceremony

That’s a wrap for Paris 2024: The Paralympic Games will come to a close, bringing an end to Paris’s Olympic summer.  

The article was adapted from French. To read the original click here.

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At the northern tip of Australia, the search is on for the next First Nations Olympics champion

Waibene is the place from where Australia’s first Indigenous Olympic or Paralympic swimming champion could emerge.

English speakers call it Thursday Island. Swimming Australia hopes a pilot program being trialled there will deliver a First Nations champion at the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Deadly Little Dolphins” is a program that is about much more than talent identification in the Torres Strait Islands – it is about harnessing children’s love of the water to improve educational outcomes; it is about water safety, with First Nations children over-represented in national drowning statistics; and it is about building bridges between cultures.

Quandamooka man Cameron Costello is a member of the Brisbane 2032 Legacy Committee. He told The Ticket there is an opportunity for reciprocal benefit.

“It’s a connector between two cultures, it is a shared learning,” he said.

“What we hope is that through the engagement and learning about getting into squads there is also the balance of sharing in culture, connecting with country, culture and people for non-indigenous people who are involved in this program.

“That’s the beauty of this program, it provides that pathway for reciprocal shared learnings.

“We are in an amazing space at the moment in terms of Australia and our journey to reconciliation with First Nations people … we see this as a great avenue for that as well.

“It provides such a positive, exciting, generous process for aboriginal and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Torres Strait Islander people to come together.”

The Swimming Australia initiative is First Nations led and co-designed. The hope is corporate Australia will see the benefits and contribute to a national rollout.

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Swimming Australia wants ‘envy of the world’ aquatics centre built for Brisbane Olympics, not drop-in pool

A new home of Australian swimming needs to be built in Brisbane ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the peak body for the sport says.

The current plan for the swimming event at the Games involves a drop-in pool at the planned Brisbane Live entertainment arena to be built at Roma Street with $2.5 billion in funding from the federal government.

But Swimming Australia chief executive Eugenie Buckley said while the drop-in pool would be “wonderful for fans” during the Games, it would not leave behind a legacy for swimming — a sport that has delivered almost 50 per cent of Australia’s medals.

“If we look back at Sydney 2000, when they got the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, who are actually hosting the New South Wales State Opens this weekend, so it’s still a legacy asset and used,” she said.

“I think it would be beneficial to have a physical legacy because it’s something where in the lead-up and post, you can have your general community from learn-to-swim to masters all being able to swim in that Olympic [and] Paralympic pool and being inspired by performances of the Dolphins (the Australian swim team).”

Eugenie Buckley says Swimming Australia is approaching universities and businesses about building a national headquarters. (ABC News: Mark Leonardi)

Swimming Australia did not suggest a location for the national site or the cost of building it.

Ms Buckley said Swimming Australia would seek public and stakeholder feedback on the ideas for the location and design of the aquatic centre and go to market with the plan.

“We’re currently having conversations with universities, private developers, government, of course in relation to what this national home of swimming would look like,” she said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles told ABC Radio Brisbane the city did not need a permanent swimming venue with 15,000 seats, but needed a live music venue.

“Our plan does involve a major upgrade of the Brisbane Aquatic Centre at Chandler and we’d love if Swimming Australia wanted to make that the home of swimming for all of Australia,” he said.

Ms Buckley said Swimming Australia would love to have a national aquatic centre with technology and innovation that Australia is proud of.

Ms Buckley told ABC Radio Brisbane “nothing is off the table” for the new home of swimming and flagged there were existing possible locations like the Chandler centre and Gold Cost Aquatic Centre upgraded for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“In an ideal world, in our dream, we would love to have a national aquatic centre that is the envy of the world that actually attracts tourists to come to Queensland, to Brisbane, to have a look at the home of swimming,” she said.

“We’re working on our own swimming headquarters, we’re looking at an integration between our high-performance centre of excellence, our corporate headquarters, as well as full integration with our community.

“We’d like to go to market, we’re currently having conversations with universities, private developers, government, of course in relation to what this national home of swimming could look like.”

Games legacy strategy being developed

The state and federal government last month struck a $7 billion funding agreement last month to overhaul Brisbane’s sporting and event venues ahead of the Games.

The agreement would see the federal government fund $2.5 billion towards building the 18,000-seat Brisbane Live entertainment arena and the state rebuild the Gabba for $2.7 billion.

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A digital depiction of what the Gabba could look like by 2032.

At the time of the announcement, federal member for the inner-city seat of Griffith, Max Chandler-Mather, said it was a “disgraceful” misuse of government money.

Organisers have pitched the sporting spectacle as a more sustainable and cost-effective event, with the International Olympic Committee scrapping its costly old rules requiring sports to have their own purpose-built facilities for the Games.

James Cook University adjunct professor and regional economist Colin Dwyer said he understood the need for better swimming facilities but noted the cost of the Games had already blown out.

He said the Gabba would cost about $54,000 per seat, while the Brisbane Live arena would cost $147,058 per seat.

“We need to know how much extra it’s going to cost for swimming facilities and where the money is going to come from,” he said.

“We also have to think about the impact on regions, and distant regions that aren’t going to get the same benefit as the south-east corner.”

Swimming Australia’s call for legacy infrastructure comes as the peak body today launches consultation with stakeholders and the public, to develop a BNE32 Legacy Impact Strategy.

“A physical legacy will be a really hot topic as we go out to consultation with our community, but as it stands now, it’s certainly not our preference to have a drop-in pool,” Ms Buckley said.

The legacy committee formed by Swimming Australia to design a strategy will be chaired by Olympian Grant Hackett.

Brisbane Live exterior daytime graphic with arena in the middle and fans walking nearby
The federal government is funding the Brisbane Live project.(Supplied: Queensland government)

Swimming is already the nation’s largest participation sport, with 5.3 million organised swimmers.

Sleeman Sports Complex in the Brisbane suburb of Chandler was purpose-built for the 1982 Commonwealth Games, and its indoor Brisbane Aquatic Centre is slated for an upgrade as part of the state government’s 2032 master plan for the Games.

The Brisbane Aquatic Centre will host Olympic artistic swimming, diving and water polo, and the Paralympic Aquatics with 4,300 spectator seats.

A Queensland government spokesperson said the government was “happy to discuss the possible location of a new home for Australian swimming in Queensland” but Brisbane Arena will host “Olympic and Paralympic swimming and water polo finals”.

The Commonwealth government has been contacted for comment.

‘A pod of First Nations Dolphins’

Quandamooka traditional owner Cameron Costello, who is on the Brisbane 2032 Legacy Committee and the Swimming Australia committee, said the Games present an opportunity to make sure there is more representation of First Nations swimmers.

Head shot of Cameron Costello
Quandamooka man Cameron Costello wants the Games to lead to more First Nations people participating in swimming.(ABC News: Curtis Rodda)

He said the infrastructure should integrate First Nations design principles that share the stories of Indigenous people.

“It’s not just the sport, it’s the events, the jobs, the volunteers, we want to ensure our First Nations people are engaged with that, and more broadly with regional and remote communities,” he said.

“We want a pod of First Nations Dolphins.”

Ellie Cole smiles while wearing a green sleeveless jacket
Ellie Cole would like to see a more accessible stadium.(ABC News: West Mattheeussen)

Paralympian Ellie Cole, who is on the Swimming Australia legacy committee, said she is looking forward to seeing inclusive strategies being developed for the 2032 Games.

“I would like to see an increase in the number of Para Athletes making themselves eligible for 2032,” she said.

“I would like to see an increase in that Para pathway funding and more opportunities for athletes to be classified.

“It would be nice to see a permanent structure that has consideration around universal design, an accessible design, so that everyone in our community is able to use it and able to use it for years to come.”

Stubblety-Cook standing on the Olympic podium, arms raised.
Brisbane Olympic swimmer Zac Stubblety-Cook won gold in Tokyo.(Supplied: Delly Carr)

Australian swimmer Zac Stubblety-Cook, who won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 200m breaststroke, said a home Games was all about creating legacy.

“It’s a real opportunity to put ourselves on the map as the best swimming nation in the world, I think it would take a lot to get there, but I think it would really take the sport to the next level in terms of the decades afterwards,” he said.

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Michael Klim talks about his swim challenge, the 2000 Olympics and his life with CIDP

Olympian Michael Klim says the support and friendship of the swimming community — including former American arch-rival Gary Hall Jr — has helped him deal with his ongoing health issues from a chronic neural condition. 

Dual Olympic gold medallist Klim was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) in 2020.

The condition resulted in ongoing chronic pain, fatigue and difficulty of movement.

Klim was speaking to ABC Sport as he prepared for the Brainwave Klim Swim Challenge in March to raise awareness of, and funds to fight, CIDP and other neural conditions, with children’s charity Brainwave Australia the chief beneficiary.

He also talked about the importance swimming has had in his life and the bond he has with his fellow team members — and rivals — from the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

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From the worst food at an athletes’ village to winning gold, Susie O’Neill shares her Olympic memories

Swimming great Susie O’Neill was 20 when Sydney won its bid to host the 2000 Olympics.

It was 1993 and she had already represented Australia at the Barcelona Olympics the year before.

“I was at a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport, I remember we all got up really early to hear the announcement,” O’Neill says.

“My first reaction was, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to be so old, I’ll be 27’.” 

An artist’s impression of the opening ceremony at the Gabba for the 2032 Olympics.(Supplied: Queensland government)

For any young athletes with dreams of making it to the Brisbane Olympics in 2032, O’Neill has this advice.

“It’s a long time, so you have to break it down to the smallest goals,” she says.

“When I was an athlete, I broke it down to each training session and if you give 100 per cent at each session, it will add up.”

two female athletes holding their olympic medals
O’Neill and fellow Olympic swimmer Sam Riley (left) both won bronze at their first Games in Barcelona.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

When O’Neill began her international swimming career there were limited opportunities to make money.

“I was an amateur athlete, you couldn’t keep swimming into your 30s, even 27 was a bit of stretch,” O’Neill says.

However, when Sydney was announced at the host city, money started pouring into the sport.

“All these corporate opportunities opened up, and I was able to keep swimming and make it to Sydney,” O’Neill says. 

“It meant that I could just focus on swimming rather than have to work as well.”

close up head shot of Susie O'Neill with her parents
O’Neill, pictured with her parents John and Trish, was born in Mackay in north Queensland.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

Susie O’Neil may have earned the nickname Madame Butterfly but she actually started out swimming backstroke.

“Everyone always asks how swimmers choose their events and it’s just down to whatever will give you the best chance of winning,” O’Neill says.

“We all start out wanting to be sprinters … 50 or 100m but if you can’t do that, you gradually try to find another event.”

At 14, O’Neill came second in the 100m butterfly at the Australian trials for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games team. 

She narrowly missed out on selection but it was clear butterfly was going to be her focus.

A group female Australian Olympians in 1992 team uniform
O’Neill has worn three different Australian Olympic team uniforms. Here is what they looked like in 1992.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

O’Neill competed at three Olympics but the games in Barcelona stand out for a few reasons.

She won her first medal, a bronze in the 200m butterfly.

The food at the athlete’s village was also memorable.

“It was the first time I saw Magnums [ice-cream], there were big buckets full of them, we didn’t have them in Australia yet,” O’Neill says.

“These days the Olympic villages all look similar and that’s often to keep costs down,” she says.

Barcelona had a different feeling.

“Our rooms had big bay windows looking out over the water,” she says.

O’Neill says the worst food was in Atlanta in 1996, which for the first time, offered athletes unlimited McDonalds.

“They don’t do it now but back then, once your event was over there was an endless supply of cheeseburgers,” she says.

O’Neill also remembers security being very relaxed in Barcelona.

“The wife of our head coach, who was quite a bit older than me, was able to use my lanyard to get into the pool.”

‘I was a very nervous competitor’

groups of Australian olympians in a grandstand
O’Neill with her teammates at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

Like many athletes, O’Neill had a specific pre-race routine to help keep calm and reduce nerves.

“[It was] a certain warm-up, getting changed at a particular time and walking to the pool and splashing water in my mouth,” she says.

“I started out listening to music before a race but stopped because when I am nervous, noise irritates me and I like to hear what’s going on around me,” O’Neill says.

“I was a very nervous competitor.

“You’d think it would have gotten better as I got older, but it actually got worse.”

Three swimmers with their medals after a race.
O’Neill, Petria Thomas and Michelle Smith after the 200m butterfly in Atlanta.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, O’Neill won her first gold medal, in the 200m butterfly, making her the first Australian female swimmer to win gold since 1980.

O’Neill also defeated Irish swimmer Michelle Smith, whose sudden surge of success had caused suspicion.

“Before the race everyone was saying she was on drugs, even in the marshalling area before I went out people were urging me on to beat her,” O’Neill says.

Fellow Australian Petria Thomas came in second, Michelle Smith third.

“Michelle got banned from swimming [for four years] after Atlanta, not for having drugs in her system but for having enough whisky in her sample to be dead … she had tampered with her sample.”

The back of two fans wearing t-shirts in support of Susie O'Neill.
Two Susie O’Neill fans at the 2000 Olympics.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

Heading into the 2000 Sydney Olympics, O’Neill held the world record for the 200m butterfly and was the favourite to win in front of the home crowd.

“Everyone likes to be noticed and I’m no different but the lead-up to Sydney was intense.”

O’Neill did win gold in Sydney but not for the 200m butterfly.

In that race, she came second.

Susie O'Neill with teammates at Sydney 2000
O’Neill, pictured with Sydney 2000 teammates, says nothing compares to the atmosphere of a home Olympics.(Supplied: Susie O’Neill)

“When people used to talk about the Sydney Olympics, I had a funny feeling and would kind of shut it down,” she says.

O’Neill watched the race for the first time only a few years ago, during her live breakfast radio show.

“I thought I would feel nothing but then all this stuff just started pouring out,” she says.

The experience was completely unexpected but had a profound impact.

“For a long time I thought of that race as a failure but I absolutely do not think that now.”

O’Neill’s gold medal came in the 200m freestyle. She also won two silver medals in relay events.

After Sydney she was ready to leave the sport.

“I was really over it … physically I could have kept going but it’s a very limiting lifestyle,” O’Neill says.

O’Neill hasn’t swum more than a lap of butterfly since the Sydney Games but still loves swimming and trains several times a week.

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Daily Wire host’s thread takes deep, disturbing dive into Lia Thomas’ social media circle

Last year, University of Kentucky swimming star Riley Gaines spoke out about being displaced by trans UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas on the awards podium despite tying for fifth place in the NCAA women’s championship 200-meter freestyle race. Thomas received a trophy that day, while Gaines did not:

Speaking with The Daily Wire in a phone conversation, Riley Gaines said that as NCAA officials were handing out trophies on the podium following the race, he said:  “Hey, I just want to let you know, we only have one fifth place trophy, so yours will be coming in the mail. We went ahead and gave the fifth place trophy to Lia, but you can pose on the podium with the sixth place trophy.”

“I just want you to know that we respect you and admire your swim so much, but we just want Lia to hold the fifth place trophy,” the official responded, according to Gaines, who The Daily Wire said  “laughed incredulously… as she repeated his words.”

“I was probably running my mouth a little more than I should,” she said. “I told the guy, ‘I don’t think that’s that’s right, and I don’t think that’s fair. There’s no dispute that only one of us can hold the trophy, but I think given the circumstances, you’re just trying to save face a little bit.’”

Gaines went on to be increasingly outspoken about what she viewed — correctly — as an affront to women’s sports. She even got suspended from Twitter for a while for her vocal opposition to Thomas being allowed to compete as a woman despite being biologically male.

Lia Thomas was nominated last July for NCAA’s Woman of the Year. So was Gaines. But of the two of them, only Gaines had earned her nomination.

Gaines recently sat down for an interview on The Daily Wire’s sports-focused show “Crain & Company,” and apparently the interview lit an investigative fire under Jake Crain et al. In an extensive and disturbing thread, Crain reveals some of the material they found in their quest to learn more about Lia Thomas — and the company Thomas allegedly keeps:

You can read Wawro’s thread here. It’s quite disturbing in its own right.

Here’s the interview:

Now, to be clear, we’re not here to pass judgment on Lia Thomas’ or Gwen Weiskopf’s being trans. That’s their prerogative. But their decision to live their lives as trans women becomes a problem when it interferes negatively in the lives of other people, people like Riley Gaines. Thomas’ presence has disrupted Gaines and other elite female college swimmers’ athletic careers, not to mention made Gaines et al. feel physically uncomfortable and violated, as was the case when Thomas was allowed to change in the women’s changing room. The NCAA should take serious issue with that as well as with the troubling and genuinely problematic social media posts done by and involving Thomas.

Is Thomas really NCAA Woman of the Year material? Or would she be better intensive therapy material? It would appear that the answer can only be the latter.

The sooner, the better.

***

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