“We won’t be perfect for these Games,” admitted Emmanuel Macron 500 days before the start of the Olympics

The Head of State returned to the many challenges that will come on Tuesday at the headquarters of the prefecture of Paris and Île-de-France.

“Five hundred days to be successful.” The countdown to the 2024 Olympics was launched by Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday 14 March at the headquarters of the prefecture of Paris and Île-de-France, in front of 500 officials involved in the organization of the Games. The President of the Republic has requested the “general mobilization” face the big challenges ahead of the biggest sporting event in the world. Security of the opening ceremony, fears about transport which has accumulated malfunctions in recent months, better access to sites for people with disabilities, another black spot on the Parisian network… There is no shortage of cold sweats for the organizers.

“We have to manage long times, prepare for an event where there will (even) be very short times, where there may be crises, warned the Head of State, accompanied by the ministers of Sport, the Interior and Transport. We won’t be perfect for these Games, mind you (…). We know that it is impossible given the urban transport network that is ours.” Emmanuel Macron added duty “put some pressure” on the services concerned, referring, without further clarification, to art “bad news that wasn’t necessarily plannedon the side of mobility.

The Seine at the center of all attention

Tony Estanguet, head of the organizing committee, and Thomas Jolly, artistic director of the Games, met at the Elysée to take stock of the opening ceremony. For the first time in the history of the Olympics, the parade will not take place in a stadium, but on the water, with the Seine as the leitmotif. On July 26, 2024 at 20:24, 10,500 athletes will descend the river by boat six kilometers, under the eyes of nearly 600,000 spectators, according to the current indicator. An unprecedented security challenge. “We learned all the lessons from the events at the Stade de France”assured the Minister of Sport Amélie Oudéa-Castéra on France Inter, Sunday 19 February, in reference to the problems that arose during the Champions League final in May 2022 in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of the capital.

In addition to hosting the opening ceremony, the Seine, which has been banned for swimming since 1923, will serve as the backdrop for the open water swimming events. A “little revolution”welcomed Emmanuel Macron, also welcoming the “great legacy” what will be the “5,000 new sports fields”.

Making the Games a “real popular celebration”

The President of the Republic insisted on the fact of “continue to involve the inhabitants of the region”so that the Games are a “true folk festival” and what is it “no feeling of frustration, of relegation”. After an initial phase of ticket sales marked by prices deemed excessive, the organizers will launch, on Wednesday 15 March, a second sales period by units and no longer in packages. A total of 1.5 million tickets will be offered from 11 May, including the opening ceremony (from €90 to €2,700).

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