Fear about games. Less than a year before the high mass of international sport, which should allow Paris and more broadly France to show itself in its best light, the organizers are tearing their hair out. It must be said that the event is a climax of pressure for the French, who have not hosted the event since 1992, for the Winter Olympics in Alberville. Paris must shine with all its lights, to make people forget the yellow vests, the so-called “no-go zones” and the clashes of pension reform. Without forgetting the still stinging memory of the debacle at the Champions League final at the Stade de France 2022, which put the country on the grill of world opinion. We understand the anxiety that grips Cojop, the Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. But while the year that separates us from the event ruthlessly dwindles its days, it is clear that the workload that remains to be accomplished is pharaonic: finishing the reception infrastructures, construction of the transport network transporting the event sites, promotion of Seine-Saint-Denis, the 3rd poorest French department… Paris, which has been eager to host the Games for 10 years, would like to be able to hold back time today, especially since in the midst of difficulties, real threats weigh on the event.
They could begin to appear on Day 1. The opening ceremony, tailored to be grandiose, is scheduled for July 26 and must take place on the Seine. Police headquarters, Paris town hall and the Ministry of the Interior are working vehemently on this first challenge. To ensure smooth running, the authorities have released the figures: 35,000 security officials will be mobilized for the ceremony and 116 boats must transport international sports delegations, details Marianne. However, an incident occurred on the river on September 2: less than a year before the Olympics, two boats collided, leaving 16 passengers injured. “A collision between two boats is extremely rare. And that doesn’t bode well,” worries a police source to Le Parisien. On the banks, another threat lurks: unhappy to see themselves “displaced” to free the banks of the Seine, the famous book sellers are protesting, to the point that Anne Hidalgo is now considering maintaining the book boxes during the games , or to create a “booksellers’ village”, according to Marianne.
And these are not the only obstacles inherent to the Parisian river. The “test” swimming and triathlon events scheduled for August 2023 in the Seine, like the official 2024 events, had to be canceled due to the poor quality of the water. Thus open water swimming capitulated to an excessive level of Escherichia coli bacteria (which causes vomiting, diarrhea and so on) potentially linked to the heavy rains which preceded the water testing by the experts. As for the swimming event of the triathlon, it was abandoned because of a “malfunction of a valve in the sanitation network”, according to Le Monde. The Cojop wants to be reassuring and is banking on future work, which should provide sufficient water quality to allow Olympic swimmers to immerse themselves, otherwise, the organizers plan to postpone the events by one day. However, uncertainties remain: what if the days preceding the swimming events were too rainy and made the Seine impassable?
The Olympics do not only make people happy, to say the least, and the organizers fear, beyond a terrain strewn with pitfalls, the intervention of hackers and other cyberterrorists. The command of the gendarmerie in cyberspace has issued a confidential three-page note, reported by RMC Sport which anticipates that “the Paris 2024 Olympic Games being the most followed international sporting event in the world, it is very likely that the actors of the cyber threat demonstrate great responsiveness to exploit any weakness or vulnerability identified before or during the event in order to quickly take advantage of it.” Site management systems and critical infrastructure are particularly vulnerable. Transportation and logistics providers are also subject to increased surveillance. The note mentions the possibility of “disruption and strategy of influence of technical staff and athletes for the purposes of destabilization.”
Finally, the slingshot could well come from the inside. In a column published in Basta, on April 3, 2023, several collectives (Saccage 2024, Youth for Climate, etc.) presented their “tutorial for spoiling [the] hidden work campaign” of the Olympics. According to information collected by Europe 1, an “anti-Olympics” collective intends to infiltrate volunteer networks to disrupt the Games. The organization would push its supporters to join among the 45,000 volunteers recruited for the event, then to withdraw at the last moment to disrupt the organization from within. For the last minute disruptions caused by these ghost volunteers, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games are considering “forming a team of volunteers who can be mobilized in the event of withdrawal, who will be able, if necessary, to come and carry out missions during the Games”, according to news .Fr.