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July - 2024 Paris Olympic Games

The UK is full of exciting events in July, taking advantage of the warmer weather. Sports fans, especially those following the UEFA European Football Championship, are having a great time. But another global event is about to begin. From July 26th to August 11th, a historic tradition is set to unfold once more.

This event first dazzled audiences in 1900, again in 1924, and now precisely a decade later, in 2024. It will span 17 days of incredible athleticism and will occur in a city known for its rich history, culture, and many nicknames, including the "City Of Light."

Doesn't sound familiar? Then how about the capital of France, which is home to some of the most iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Arc de Triomphe, to name just a few. This is Paris, the capital elected to hold the 2024 Olympic Games. This year promises to follow and break the cultural traditions of the Games held in the past, so we feel it is essential to discuss during this month.

Before we delve into what sets this year's Olympic Games apart, let me provide an overview of how this inclusive competition of sportsmanship came to be.

The Beginning and Abrupt End of the Greek Olympic Games

The Revival, Athens 1896 & Paris 1900

Breaking Tradition?

The 33rd Olympiad will take place this year. However, before delving into the events themselves, the 2024 Games will be the first not to have an opening ceremony to signal the start of the games that takes place inside a stadium or a venue, as one might expect, which has been a prevalent tradition ever since Pierre de Coubertin and the IOC initially revived the Games.

The event will still occur along the River Seine as a four-mile-long floating parade. Approximately 10,500 athletes, with a balanced number of males and females, are expected to embark on numerous boats equipped with cameras to offer close-up views as they travel eastward to the centre of Paris. Extra facilities will be available for spectators, and additional mobile police teams will be deployed to monitor roads, rivers, and the skies, with a key concern on drone attacks looking to take advantage.

The River Seine in France
With a total of 10,500 athletes participating in the games, there will be 160 boats on the 6-kilometer course.

Once underway, this year's games will last 16 days and showcase a blend of traditional and modern sports to reflect evolving interests and diversity while keeping the Games relevant to a newer audience. Two completely new additions and several returning from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be featured alongside the traditional roster of events.

The New Events

  • Breakdancing (Breaking)

We were serious about these games breaking tradition. Arguably the most noteworthy addition, Breakdancing, referred to as "breaking" in Olympic terms, will be featured for the first time. This dynamic and athletic form of street dance emerged from the hip-hop culture of the 1970s in New York City.

Breaking combines intricate footwork, acrobatics, and stylistic flair. It is judged on criteria such as technique, originality, musicality, and athleticism. The inclusion of breaking aims to attract a younger audience and celebrate urban culture.

  • Kayak Cross

Like traditional kayak and canoe slalom, paddlers navigate through an aquatic obstacle course with strategically positioned gates both upstream and downstream. While the classic version already provides an adrenaline rush, kayak cross takes excitement to new heights — specifically, more than two meters above the ground - as four participants are launched from a ramp into the water below.

As if the gates and the ramp were not enough, all athletes must complete what is known as a kayak roll within a designated zone, where they must complete a full 360-degree rotation.

This sport also allows contact between competitors, adding an extra dimension of strategy as paddlers race against time and strategically use their paddles to gain the upper hand.

The Returning Events (from Tokyo 2020)

  • Skateboarding

This urban sport will feature two disciplines: street and park. In street events, athletes navigate a course resembling a city street with stairs, handrails, and ledges, while park events occur on a course with ramps, bowls, and other structures. Skateboarding emphasises creativity, skill, and style, resonating strongly with youth culture.

  • Surfing

In the legendary surfing spot Teahupo’o in Tahiti, Athletes will compete on shortboards, performing manoeuvres on ocean waves. Judging is based on the difficulty and execution of the rides, combining athleticism with an understanding of the ocean's dynamics.

  • Sport Climbing

Sport climbing also appeared first in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will be featured in Paris 2024. The competition is divided into three disciplines: lead climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering. Lead climbing involves scaling a high wall within a time limit, speed climbing is a race up a fixed route, and bouldering focuses on short, challenging routes climbed without ropes. This sport tests climbers' strength, agility, and problem-solving skills.

Travel Tips for Attendees

Although it's a time to let loose and celebrate the biggest sporting event of the year, anyone wishing to attend in person must remain vigilant. Here are some of our top tips for attending the Games:

  1. Carry Identification: Always have some form of identification with you. Police may conduct spot checks, and failure to provide ID can result in detainment.

  2. Emergency Number: Remember, France's emergency number differs from the UK's. Dial 112 for emergency services.

  3. Know the Area: Familiarise yourself with the area you are visiting. Learn a few basic French phrases. With numerous landmarks and venues, having a map or a guidebook can help you navigate to your venue.

  4. Use Official Transport when possible: France has many bus and taxi stands near popular tourist spots. Licensed taxis display a "Taxi Parisien" sign and have built-in taximeters. Trams are also a popular and reliable public transport option.

  5. Traffic and Pedestrian Rules: Pedestrians should use designated crosswalks and adhere to traffic signals. Crossing the street outside of these areas can result in fines. Be mindful that in France, vehicles drive on the right side of the road, which differs from the UK.

  6. Be Aware of Pickpockets: Like many major cities, pickpocketing can be an issue in crowded areas. Keep your belongings secure and be cautious in busy places.

  7. Respect Local Laws and Customs: Familiarise yourself with French laws and customs. Public intoxication, for example, can result in fines or arrest.


Discussion Points for Diversity, Tolerance, Respect and Prevent

  • What do the Olympic rings represent?

  • Do the Olympics effectively combat forms of discrimination, or is there more that could be done?

  • Should the number of 20 mixed-gender medal events scheduled for this year be increased or decreased?

  • Is France prepared to handle the responsibility of hosting the Games this year?

  • Which is more important: the athletic competition or the cultural aspects of the Games?

  • Do you think the Olympics should set quotas to make sure that a specific number of officials and coaches are from diverse backgrounds?

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