Wednesday May 22, 2024

Macron reveals possible alternatives for Olympic opening ceremony

Published : 16 Apr 2024, 03:53

  DF News Desk
French President Emmanuel Macron. File Photo: Xinhua.

The Paris 2024 Olympic Games organizers have prepared alternatives to staging the grand event's opening ceremony on the River Seine if there are excessive security risks, French president Emmanuel Macron admitted on Monday, reported Xinhua.

As the countdown to the Olympics reaches the critical 100-day mark, Macron spoke to French broadcasters as he reiterated his confidence in successfully hosting the ceremony on the Seine, though he also acknowledged that alternative plans were under consideration due to potential security challenges.

"If we think there are security risks we'll have Plan Bs, and even Plan Cs," he said. "We are preparing them in parallel. We will do an analysis in real time. We have a ceremony which would be limited to the Trocadero and which would therefore not cover the entire Seine."

Macron also mentioned the possibility of relocating the ceremony to the Stade de France.

"This is what is traditionally done," he added.

The interview was conducted in the Paris Grand Palais Museum, which was built for the 1900 World's Fair and has been undergoing renovations since summer 2020. The renovation work will be officially finished on April 17 and the keys will be handed to the Paris 2024 organizing committee to begin the implementation of sporting infrastructure that same day.

The Grand Palais will host fencing and taekwondo competitions during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

According to the current plan, around 10,500 athletes are expected to travel approximately six kilometers from east to west along the Seine, disembarking near the Eiffel Tower at Trocadero Square for the celebration. An estimated 300,000 spectators are anticipated to watch the event live from both sides of the river.

However, security has been a significant concern from the outset. The increasing risk of potential terrorist attacks is a critical consideration for both the organizing committee and the French government.

Referring to public transport, another issue of concern for the Games, Macron admitted that the work "is not completely up to our expectation."

The president reiterated his promise to swim in the Seine, yet declined to specify a time. There is growing concerns about the river's quality, which has cast doubt on whether the triathlon's swimming event can still take place there. A sewer problem last summer led to the cancelation of a pre-Olympic swimming event.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has also promised to swim in the Seine.

Asked about the possibility of a public sector strike following the CGT union's strike notice during the Olympic period, Macron expressed his "trust" in the stakeholders.

"Yes to the Olympic truce," the president simply stated, having also promised that the Games will be "exemplary in terms of labor rights."

The Olympic flame for the Paris Games will be lit on April 16 in ancient Olympia, Greece. April 17 will mark the 100-day countdown to the opening of the Games.

The Paris Olympic Games will take place between July 26 and August 11, followed by the Paralympic Games from August 28 to September 8.