The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Executive Board today approved the optimised Olympic Games venue concept for Paris 2024. Work on the concept, which brought together all key Games stakeholders – the International Federations (IFs), the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and the French sports movement, local authorities and public authorities – was based on Olympic Agenda 2020’s New Norm and was guided by three core principles: delivering the best possible Games experience; strengthening legacy; and solidifying the budget.
The Chair of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for Paris 2024, Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, commented, “The spirit of co-construction is very much alive between the IOC and Paris 2024. I congratulate Paris 2024 on their willingness to review their venue master plan in line with the flexibility offered by Olympic Agenda 2020 and its New Norm. The outcome is a better master plan, which avoids any unnecessary permanent construction and delivers a new iconic venue to the Games.” He continued, “I am particularly pleased that a solution has been found to leave an increased swimming legacy to the Seine Saint-Denis region, where half of all children leaving primary school are unable to swim.”
The Paris 2024 Games concept is characterised by its compactness: 80 per cent of competition venues (representing a total of 22 sports) will be located within a 10 km radius of the future Olympic Village; and 85 per cent of the athletes will stay within 30 minutes of their competition venues. Most of these venues are located in one of two zones: the first in the centre of Paris; and the other in Greater Paris, mostly in Seine Saint-Denis (and also including the Yvelines, Seine-et-Marne and Hauts-de-Seine departments.)
The principal changes to the concept include a new approach for the Olympic Aquatics Centre (OAC), which will see all aquatics events (apart from the 10 km marathon) take place on a single site at Plaine Saulnier in Saint-Denis, next to the Stade de France, forming a venue cluster of the two sports of aquatics and athletics, situated just a few metres from the Olympic Village. The OAC will be the only new competition venue built for these Games.
The temporary Grand Palais is a facility being created to host the major art, fashion and sport shows and events usually held at the historic venue of the same name during its renovation. Once the renovation work is complete, the temporary structure will be retained for a few more months, until September 2024, in order to stage the Paris 2024 judo and wrestling events. It will be situated on the Champ de Mars and be able to host 9,000 spectators at Games time.
This new opportunity, which did not exist during the candidature phase, will remove the need to create a temporary venue at Le Bourget, originally planned to house badminton. In the new Games concept, the badminton events will be held at Arena 2, located at Porte de la Chapelle, just three kilometres from the Stade de France. With a 7,500 seating capacity, this medium-sized venue fills a gap in the French capital’s sports inventory, and would have been built regardless of the Games as a new home for Paris basketball, handball and volleyball clubs.
Volleyball will also benefit from greater visibility within the new concept, in a temporary facility at Le Bourget with capacity for 12,000 spectators and better transport access than the original site (just a few hundred metres away).
With judo taking up a prestigious new home at the temporary Grand Palais, it will be possible to concentrate all the basketball disciplines (men’s and women’s qualifications and finals) at Paris Arena 1, which will also enable cost savings on another venue: Stade Pierre-de-Coubertin, which had previously been planned to host preliminary women’s basketball matches.
This will deliver spectacular Games in Paris, with sport and the athletes being placed at the heart of the city. As well as world-class existing facilities, the Paris 2024 Games plan will see sport take place against the backdrop of some of France’s most iconic landmarks and some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The unprecedented staging of sport at these venues, both existing and temporary, will see Paris transformed into an extraordinary Olympic city enhanced by Games celebration sites along the banks of the Seine.
It will deliver a stronger and more useful legacy for local people and communities, in particular, those in Seine Saint-Denis. The revised approach for the new OAC offers the best example of this reinforced legacy. The optimisation of the Games plan will lead to an increase in the number of legacy swimming pools compared to the candidature plans. Including training facilities, a total of nine pools will now be created (or renovated for Marville) through the Games in a department where half of all children leave primary school unable to swim.
Finally, it will help to limit the risk of potential budget overruns, with 95 per cent of existing or temporary infrastructure. All the new infrastructure to be constructed (i.e.: housing units forming part of the Olympic Village and Media Village in addition to the OAC) will help meet the long-term needs of people in the communities concerned.