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Welcome to the Olympics!

By Jade Gagné

Sports Editor

Via @gettyimages

From boxing to basketball and surfing to football, we have all seen the unique dance moves behind the “Official Olympic Dance of 2024” somewhere. The dance was created by the choreographer Mourad Merzouki and is not the only thing being discussed when the 2024 Summer Olympics are mentioned.

The last time France welcomed the Olympics was in 1924. This year, the infamous French country is trying to set the bar high by hosting the Olympics again, which will begin on July 26th and end on August 11. Anticipation mounts as it is touted as the greenest Olympics, starting with a four-hour opening ceremony on the Seine.

“What’s the Seine?” For those unfamiliar, It’s a 777-kilometre-long (483-mile) river in northern France that flows through Paris. The same river will welcome the Triathlon and distance swimming events—well, that’s assuming the events do not get delayed because of health issues. Last year, the Olympics’ organising committee cancelled the marathon swimming test and any swimming test events in August due to high water pollution levels. This year, 14 tests were completed on water samples taken from two spots in the Seine by the Surfrider Foundation Europe charity. In April, the same foundation warned that the samples showed harmful bacteria, including E. coli and Enterococcus faecalis, a bacteria found in human feces.

“We know what the Pont Alexandre-III and the Eiffel Tower represent, but I think that the health of the athletes must come first [...] The organisers must accept that perhaps it will, unfortunately, not be possible to hold the events where they want to.", said the swimmer Ana Marcela Cunha to ADP on the sidelines of a competition on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach.

Nonetheless, officials of the events are confident that the river will be clean by the time of the Olympics, considering that they do not have a plan B. I mean, who wouldn’t want to swim in human feces, right? It is safe to say that the event will bring light into those dark waters!

As athletes voice concerns over health risks, visitors planning trips to Paris during the Olympics may also face challenges. If your summer plans include a trip to Paris, consider the economic changes the event will bring. From July 20 to September 8, the metro prices will double. A standard ticket (2 euros today) will cost 4 euros. For the whole day, it will be 16 euros instead of 8, and for an entire week, it’ll cost 70 euros instead of 35. This translates to $5 for one ticket, $23 for a day, and $103 for an entire week. The journal New York Times reported that the average cost of a one-night stay in the Île-De-France region that rings Paris is about 700 euros during the Olympics, compared to 169 euros last summer. Many Parisians are unhappy and do not recommend visiting France for the summer unless you’re ready to lose lots of money.

France's government is striving for perfection for their star city— Paris. “The first step?” The social cleansing of the whole town. The government evicted hundreds of migrants and homeless people from a building in Vitry-Sur-Seine. As they left the building, they were encouraged to board buses that would take them to other parts of France. Over 50% held a refugee status, with many being employed. They were forced to leave, and in exchange, they participated in the “beautiful refining” of the capital of France.

Another drama surrounding the Olympics involved French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura, who has the potential to perform at the Paris Olympics. However, her performance wouldn’t be of her songs but a remake of a song by the famous French singer Edith Piaf, which caused lots of backlash from far-right groups in France.

The Olympics are no longer about sport but about social justice, economic challenges, health issues, and political views.

Can’t sport just be about sport?


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