Paris Olympics faces setback as flooded Seine River delays opening ceremony rehearsal

Paris Olympics organisers have postponed a key rehearsal for the opening ceremony, originally scheduled for Monday, due to an unexpectedly fast-flowing Seine River.

The Seine’s current has surged to five times its usual summer strength. This increase is due to several weeks of heavy rain in the French capital. It has also adversely affected the water quality in the Seine, as evidenced by high levels of faecal E. Coli bacteria, surpassing the threshold set by international federations from June 10 to June 16.

The Seine is crucial for events like the triathlon and open-water swimming.

Also read: Shark in the Seine: ‘Under Paris’ premieres on Netflix, blending action and ecology

Officials remain optimistic, however. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has pledged to take a symbolic swim in the Seine just before the Games begin, a gesture of confidence in the ongoing water treatment efforts.

The Paris 2024 Olympics will be the first to feature an opening ceremony outside the main stadium, taking place on the Seine. The ceremony is scheduled for July 26, 2024, with about 90 barges transporting teams down the river during the parade.

This year’s Olympics will be the largest event ever organised in France, spanning from July 26 to August 11, 2024, with over 10,500 athletes from more than 200 National Olympic Committees competing in 329 events across 32 sports.

Unique to the Paris 2024 Olympics is the introduction of breaking (breakdancing), sport climbing, skateboarding, and surfing, reflecting a move towards more youth-centric and inclusive events.

The Games will utilise 35 venues, many of which are iconic Paris landmarks transformed into sporting arenas, ensuring a spectacular backdrop for the competitions.

These Olympics are also significant as they mark the centenary of the last Paris-hosted Summer Games in 1924.

The event is expected to be a massive multicultural festival, drawing billions of viewers worldwide and providing a significant boost to local and international sports communities.

Samuel Bolaji

Samuel Bolaji holds a Master of Letters in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is an experienced researcher, multimedia journalist, writer, and Editor. He is currently the Editor of Arbiterz.

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