Paris 2024: Striving for More Sustainable Olympic Games

In a significant shift towards sustainability, the organisers of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games have committed to using primarily existing structures and temporary venues, with the construction of only one new building.

Environmental concerns have increasingly influenced major events, and Paris 2024 is no exception. Approximately 95% of the Olympic venues will be existing buildings or temporary structures, reflecting a commitment to reducing environmental impact.

The sole new construction for Paris 2024 is the Aquatic Centre in Saint-Denis, which cost €188 million. This state-of-the-art facility, with a capacity of 5,000 spectators, is now the largest swimming pool in France and will host synchronised swimming, diving, and water polo competitions. The centre is notable for its sustainable design, featuring solar power and bio-based construction materials, alongside the use of recycled materials.

The Stade de France, originally built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, will be repurposed as the Olympic Stadium, hosting athletics and rugby sevens. In an innovative departure from tradition, the Opening Ceremony will be held on the River Seine, while the Stade de France will host the Closing Ceremony.

Several iconic locations will be part of the Games. The Roland Garros tennis complex in Paris will host tennis events, and the National Velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines will host track cycling.

Paris’s successful bid to host the Games for the third time, following 1900 and 1924, was underpinned by a commitment to build less but with greater utility. This strategy is evident in various sustainable practices, such as the athletes' beds made from reinforced cardboard and mattresses crafted from recycled fishing nets.

The Olympic Village, located in Saint-Denis, features extensive green spaces with thousands of newly planted trees. Post-Games, the 2,800 Olympic apartments will be converted into residential housing, further extending the legacy of the Games.

To enhance sustainable transportation, over a thousand kilometres of cycle paths and around three thousand 'pay-as-you-go' bicycles will be available. Public transport is prioritised for travel to and from Olympic venues, reducing the reliance on private vehicles.

These Games are uniquely dispersed across France. The football tournament will be held in various cities including Bordeaux and Marseille, with Marseille also hosting sailing events. The most distant competition site from Paris is Teahupo'o in French Polynesia, located over 15,000 kilometres away, where the surfing events will take place.

Incorporating sustainability at every level, Paris 2024 aims to set a new standard for future Olympic Games, demonstrating that large-scale sporting events can be both environmentally responsible and successful.

Carlos Alves de Sousa
United Photo Press