Paris 2024 Olympics chief: “We are ready”
Eight months ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics, Tony Estanguet says Paris plans to offer “a fantastic moment of celebration.”
Estanguet serves as President of the Paris 2024 host committee and led the hard-fought battle to bring the Games back to the city for the first time in 100 years.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist, a canoeist, is one of the most decorated French athletes and the first to win gold in three different Olympiads. In 2022, he served as his nation’s flag-bearer at the Beijing Games.
“I lived (my) first life as an athlete and my life completely changed, thanks to the Olympics and sport,” Estanguet told GZERO’s Tony Maciulis.
On the sidelines of the recent Paris Peace Forum, Estanguet said Paris is ready to host an estimated 10 million spectators across 41 venues in and around the city. The city recently had a spate of bad publicity over bed bug infestation, a story Estanguet says is “ridiculous.” “People will criticize,” he said, but “we are ready to welcome the world.”
France is not, however, prepared to welcome the Russian flag. President Emmanuel Macron said in September that Russia has no place at the Games due to war crimes committed during its ongoing war in Ukraine. While the International Olympic Committee will ultimately decide, Macron wants Russian athletes to compete under the Russian Olympic Committee flag instead.
“Definitely there is impact on political side, but what is really important for me to protect and to preserve is the fact that the decisions are made from the sport movement,” Estanguet said.
The 2024 Summer Games begin on Friday, July 26.
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