Paris 2024 Olympics 50 days away: Pre-Games issues include opening ceremony, Kylian Mbappé, neutral athletes and security | Olympic Games News


With the Paris 2024 Olympics just 50 days away, Sky Sports News’ Geraint Hughes looks at five things to ponder…

Doubts about the opening ceremony

As it stands, the Paris 2024 opening ceremony on Friday, July 26 will take place on the River Seine, but several concerns remain around the safety of both athletes and spectators, with organizers admitting that Sky Sports News in March they had a ‘plan A, B, C, D, etc.’ as to what the Opening Ceremony would be like.

It has already been reduced: originally 700,000 people were going to be able to watch all the athletes move on barges and boats along a 6 kilometer stretch of the Seine, where they will get off at the Eiffel Tower and go up to the Trocadero.

The opening ceremony of Paris 2024 is scheduled to be held next to the Seine River, but there have already been changes

The opening ceremony of Paris 2024 is scheduled to be held next to the Seine River, but there have already been changes

While the hope is that athletes will still parade along that 6km course, the number of people who can watch has been drastically reduced to about 300,000, and all spectators now have admission, some free and some paying.

That means the organizers, and perhaps more pertinently the police and security forces, know exactly who will attend.

While there are several plans in play for the opening ceremony along the Seine River, there is a pushback. It is something that the organizers do not want, but the traditional premiere of the Olympic Games could be moved to a traditional stadium, most likely the Stade de France.

Security threat levels

This has been high, it remains at the highest possible alert level and will remain so during the Games. The Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be the largest global sporting event on the planet this year and, as such, in the uncertain times we live in, they become a target for individuals or groups who know that a huge focus of global attention will be on Paris during July and August.

The Olympics have been the goal before. At the 1972 Munich Games, a terrorist group called Black September took several Israeli athletes and coaches hostage. It ended tragically with the murder of 11 Israelis and a West German police officer.

Sky Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes traveled to Paris to present the security plans of the French government and the Olympic organization.

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Sky Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes traveled to Paris to present the security plans of the French government and the Olympic organization.

Sky Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes traveled to Paris to present the security plans of the French government and the Olympic organization.

At the 1996 Atlanta Games in the United States, a bomb exploded in Centennial Park, killing one person and injuring 11. It was considered a “domestic terrorist pipeline” attack. A security guard named Richard Jewell prevented many more victims after discovering the bomb and began removing spectators from the park.

Last month, French security services arrested a teenager in Saint-Etienne suspected of planning an attack on a soccer match being played during the Olympic tournament in the city, and French authorities believed he intended to attack to spectators and security forces.

The absence of Mbappé

Paris 2024 expected Kylian Mbappé to be one of the faces of the Games. A French sports star competing in the Games in his hometown. Not to be.

The organizers were always very aware that Mbappé would not be available for French Olympic men’s soccer coach Thierry Henry to select for the team, even though he was eligible and had expressed on more than one occasion his desire to represent France this summer in both the Euro Cup and the Olympic Games.

Kylian Mbappé will not play football for France at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and will focus on Euro 2024 in Germany.

Kylian Mbappé will not play football for France at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and will focus on Euro 2024 in Germany.

Mbappé was eligible because, although the Olympic men’s soccer tournament is an under-23 competition, three over-age players are allowed on the team. Henry, the Paris organizers and probably most of the French wanted Mbappé to play.

While he is still a PSG player this season, Mbappé was coy about his participation, while Paris 2024 said sky sports They had “hopes” that Mbappé could participate, but the saga that led to his departure from PSG and now signing for Real Madrid has ruled out his appearance at the Olympic Games, especially taking into account the workload expected with the national team. French at Euro 2024.

However, do not be surprised if Mbappé appears at the events related to Paris 2024, the organizers need and know the value of a French sports hero and a global sports figure.

Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Russia from competing as a nation in Paris 2024. Its invasion of Ukraine, along with support from Belarus, has meant that those two countries are pariahs in the majority view of the IOC and the National Committee . The Olympic Committee is leaving.

What does that really mean for Paris 2024? No Russian or Belarusian athlete may compete in Paris wearing their national clothing, logo or flag. No flag may be raised or any national anthem may be sung. Neither Russia nor Belarus can be effectively recognized… but, to the chagrin of several nations and athletes, the Russians and Belarusians can compete in Paris as neutrals.

No Russian or Belarusian athletes will be able to compete in Paris 2024, but some athletes will compete as neutrals

No Russian or Belarusian athletes will be able to compete in Paris 2024, but some athletes will compete as neutrals

What that means is that athletes who hold a Russian or Belarusian passport, who have no connection to the military in their respective countries, who have not expressed any support for the war in Ukraine, and who are effectively separated from the conflict, can compete as neutrals. .

Selection for Paris depends on each individual sports federation, not the Russian or Belarusian Olympic Committee. In practice, this means that very few Russian or Belarusian athletes will compete in Paris. If there were no limitations on either side, it is estimated that a combined number of between 400 and 550 athletes from those countries could have achieved it.

Now the IOC has issued the term ‘Individual Athlete Neutral’ (AIN): between 50 and 60 athletes from Russia and Belarus are expected to come under a specially designed flag with their own anthem. They are not allowed to use the flags of Russia, Belarus or the Olympic flag. The delegation is also prohibited from attending the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, nor from appearing in the Medal Table.

Team GB strength at 50 days

UK sport will set a medal range or expectation closer to the Games date, but privately Team GB is hoping to perform well at Paris 2024. Three years ago, at the delayed Tokyo Olympics, Team GB finished fourth in the medal table, winning a total of 64 (22 Gold, 20 Silver, 22 Bronze).

A supercomputer predicts Team GB's success at this summer's Olympic Games in Paris, but can they deliver?

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A supercomputer predicts Team GB’s success at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, but can they deliver?

A supercomputer predicts Team GB’s success at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, but can they deliver?

Internationally, across Olympic sports, athletes from Great Britain and Northern Ireland who come together to form Team GB for the Olympic Games have performed well during this shortened three-year Olympic cycle.

Team GB’s strength is often its ability to compete for medals in a host of Olympic sports; They don’t just focus on a few core sports. Traditionally, although Team GB is strong in athletics, cycling, sailing, rowing and swimming, it medals across the spectrum of sports, from equestrian to taekwondo, from boxing to skateboarding.

Keely Hodgkinson says she wants to turn her Tokyo silver medal into gold in Paris and it will be

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Keely Hodgkinson says she wants to turn her Tokyo silver medal into gold in Paris and will be “fearless” in her approach as she looks to make it a reality.

Keely Hodgkinson says she wants to turn her Tokyo silver medal into gold in Paris and will be “fearless” in her approach as she looks to make it a reality.

Skateboarder Sky Brown shared what it feels like to be Great Britain's first world champion and her aspirations for the Paris Olympics.

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Skateboarder Sky Brown shared what it feels like to be Great Britain’s first world champion and her aspirations for the Paris Olympics.

Skateboarder Sky Brown shared what it feels like to be Great Britain’s first world champion and her aspirations for the Paris Olympics.

British artistic swimmers Izzy Thorpe and Kate Shortman say they are working and advancing their preparation in a bid to win Olympic gold this summer in Paris.

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British artistic swimmers Izzy Thorpe and Kate Shortman say they are working and advancing their preparation in a bid to win Olympic gold this summer in Paris.

British artistic swimmers Izzy Thorpe and Kate Shortman say they are working and advancing their preparation in a bid to win Olympic gold this summer in Paris.

A supercomputer that predicted a “virtual medallion” earlier this year estimated Team GB will surpass its Tokyo haul and win 65 medals. That prediction would see Team Great Britain finish third in the medal table behind the USA and China, and beat hosts France, who are predicted to place fifth behind Japan.

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