• On July 26, 2024, the Paris Olympic Games will begin, with an opening ceremony as sumptuous as it is complicated to organize on the Seine.
  • At D-500, 20 Minutes takes stock of the various issues of the Olympics.
  • Some of them, like transportation or security, look like puzzles.

In 500 days, it will be July 26, 2024, the date of the start of the Paris Olympic Games. The France will host the Summer Olympics for the first time in 100 years, with far greater challenges than in 1924. The amiable competition resurrected by Pierre de Coubertin at the end of the nineteenth century has become a huge machine that always makes athletes dream, but disturbs the nights of the organizers, public authorities in mind. This Tuesday, Emmanuel Macron is also organizing a lunch at the Elysee, with among others Tony Estanguet, boss of the organizing committee (Cojo), and the heads of partner companies.

What is the status of infrastructure and budget?

Workers who still lay cables or try to repair some defects as the tournament starts. It is a classic of major sporting events, and we do not see why "our" Olympic Games should escape it. This Tuesday on France Inter, the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra has, however, assured that everything would be ready "between December 2023 and spring" 2024, "to then allow the Cojo to take possession of these places".

Tony Estanguet was optimistic in Ouest France: "We are on schedule. Whether for the athletes' village, which I visited last week, with housing designed in an exemplary and innovative way. The Olympic Aquatics Centre is also meeting deadlines. »

For the respect of finances, it is something else on the other hand. In December, the Cojo (again) recorded a 10% increase in its budget, which currently amounts to 4.4 billion euros. This is due to inflation, of course, but also initially underestimated costs, particularly in terms of payroll and security. "Our model is 96% based on private money and the partners finance more than a third of the Cojo's budget," says Estanguet.

In total, the budget for the 2024 Games is expected to amount to €8.8 billion. The estimate was "only" $6.6 billion in 2017. Here too, the increase in pain is a classic in the history of the Games and it is not over. In January, the Court of Auditors indicated that part of the expenditure and cost to public finances "will only be known after the event".

What logistics for 10 million spectators?

Even if Lille, Châteauroux or Tahiti, among others, will collect a few crumbs, the vast majority of the events will take place in Paris and its crown, mainly Seine-Saint-Denis.

Seven million people are expected during the Games (26 July – 11 August). "It's like we have 50 games a day for two weeks." Sunday in front of the press, Laurent Probst effectively imaged the challenge that awaits Ile-de-France Mobilités (IDFM), the organizing authority of transport in the capital region of which he is the general manager. For the Paralympic Games (August 28 – September 8), some three million spectators should be present, which seems more manageable a priori, except that we will then be in the back-to-school period.

The figures are dizzying: the Olympics will be able to gather up to 500,000 people per day, and this total does not include cycling or the marathon, which will attract a considerable number of curious and curious people amassed along the routes. Inevitably, public transport will have to follow, since cars will be "machina non grata".

Transport up to par, mission impossible?

RATP users are not currently living the best "passenger experience" of their lives, to use LinkedIn language. And we are not talking here about strikes, but rather about regularly crowded trains that give a little cattle side to the busiest lines. We can therefore legitimately widen our eyes at the idea of the coming project. "We will have to be able to transport 800,000 people daily: 600,000 spectators and 200,000 accredited," Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra told France Inter.

"We are at work, in our times of passage."

Five hundred days before the #JO2024, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, was the guest of the Grand Entretien in #le7930inter. ➡️ https://t.co/BAQlmrn6M1 pic.twitter.com/i8S8L3NE6w

— France Inter (@franceinter) March 14, 2023

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Line 14, which is to be extended north to Saint-Denis Pleyel near the Olympic Village and south to Orly airport, "will be ready on time, in spring 2024," says AOC. To manage the flows, it will be a question of increasing "the frequency of trains and buses by 15% on all the lines that serve the sites," says the minister. "We have recruitment plans underway."

Jean Castex, now at the head of the RATP, must aim for more than 6,000 hires while he currently manages mainly the shortage of staff. "We will do everything to be there," says the former prime minister. We have seen more voluntarist speeches, while the former tenant of Matignon must also deal with a social climate that could be further clouded by the opening to competition of the bus network currently operated in monopoly by the RATP, six months after the Olympics.

From there to consider a postponement of this measure to ease tensions, there is a step that Clément Beaune, Minister of Transport who discusses dry with Valérie Pécresse, the president of the Ile-de-France region, could take.

What security after the fiasco of the Stade de France?

Transport at the pick-up, police and stewards overwhelmed, delinquents at the party... If the final of the last Champions League between Real Madrid and Liverpool, on May 28, was intended to be a repeat of the Olympics, we might as well pass on the Olympic flame to Los Angeles, host of the event in 2028. Because even 10 more seasons of Emily in Paris would not be enough to restore the image of our beautiful country. And we do not forget the terrorist threat either.

During the Games, Laurent Probst, CEO of Ile-de-France Mobilités, announced peaks of 1,000 people per minute. "For several hours, it's quite unprecedented to manage," he adds. But eyes are also turned, or especially, to the opening ceremony with the delegations parading in a hundred boats on the Seine, which is as unprecedented as grandiose and difficult to secure.

For the moment, 600,000 spectators, including 100,000 paying spectators, are announced, distributed according to a device that would pass Fermat's theorem for an addition of CE2. But this attendance could ultimately be limited to 500,000 or even less. "We are still at 500 days, there is still time to refine these gauges, and the logistical organization of this opening ceremony," Estanguet told AFP.

More generally, the authorities want to bring out the heavy artillery so that the Games take place without too many hitches. "We have a very strong mobilization of internal security forces, 45,000 daily, 30,000 for the opening ceremony," Amélie Oudéa-Castéra detailed on France Inter, with "at the peak 20,000 to 22,000 private security agents". It also remains to recruit and train these security agents...

What is the status of ticketing?

The first phase of ticket sales by packs aroused a huge grumbles, symbolized by the famous 24-euro seats praised by the Cojo, but as difficult to spot as a desman in a Pyrenean river. On the other hand, the 690 euro tickets, sometimes for simple qualifiers in athletics at the Stade de France, have not gone unnoticed. Despite often exorbitant rates, 3.25 million places have already left, according to the organization.

The second phase, this time unit, will begin this Wednesday, with a new draw to sell 1.5 million tickets. "There won't be one for everyone and I expect this second phase to continue to generate disappointment and frustration," Estanguet acknowledges. It is inevitable, but it will once again make people happy and you have to try your luck. »

The boss of the Cojo expected such turmoil: "We knew that demand was such that it could not "match" with supply. There are many more people interested than tickets available even though we have 13 million tickets [including the Paralympics]. The projected ticket revenue is expected to bring in nearly €1.4 billion, or nearly a third of the budget of the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Cojo). So yes, it's often expensive, but think about the prestige of the France when breaking your ELP for a weightlifting event, and it will immediately pass better.

  • Paris 2024 Olympics
  • Olympic Games
  • Sport
  • Tony estanguet
  • Amélie Oudéa-Castéra