'Games Wide Open' revealed as slogan for 2024 Paris Olympics
PARIS (AFP, XINHUA) - Organisers of the 2024 Paris Olympics unveiled "Games Wide Open" as their official slogan on Monday (July 25) and announced prices for tickets which fans can start to apply for from December.
The slogan was released alongside a video promising the Olympics and Paralympics would be "faster", "higher" and "stronger" - as well as "more inclusive, more brotherly, more beautiful". It is "an invitation to the entire world to come to experience new emotions, together. Our Games are a promise of unprecedented experiences and powerful feelings," the organisers said.
A total of 13 million tickets will be sold for the two events, with nearly half of tickets reserved for the public set to be sold at less than €50 (S$71).
Outside the opening and closing ceremonies, prices for events will range from €24 to a maximum of €950, organisers said in a press statement.
Fans are invited to enter a draw for tickets from December. Packages comprising tickets for three separate events will be available from €72 and will go on sale from February.
Also on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron gathered senior ministers to discuss growing concerns about costs and security for the mega event.
The Olympics should be a centrepiece of the freshly re-elected Macron's second term, projecting an image of a France comfortable in its modern identity but open to the world.
But with two years to go to the opening ceremony on July 26, 2024, concerns are growing not just over costs but also security preparations.
France's reputation as a reliable host of sporting events took a major battering over the chaos that marred the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris on May 28 that critics blamed on heavy-handed policing.
A particular subject of anxiety is the ambitious vision - in a typical Macron flourish - of an opening ceremony which will not take place as is customary in an athletics stadium but as a flotilla down the River Seine.
The meeting at the Elysee Palace included key ministers such as Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera as well as the head of the Paris organising committee, the three-time Olympic slalom canoe champion Tony Estanguet.
It was a chance for the ministers "to take note of where there are weaknesses", said a French presidential official who asked not to be named. "The idea is to be aware of the calendar and the next stages."
Not invited were Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Paris region boss Valerie Pecresse, who were both unsuccessful candidates in the April presidential election and who on Friday issued a joint statement complaining about being excluded.
The Olympics organising committee Cojo has a budget of €4 billion, as does its partner organisation Solideo, which is charged with building the peripheral infrastructure.
But rising inflation means cuts have to be made and so far, insufficient sponsors have been found to plug the gaps.
"Everything is very tight concerning the budget," said a source close to the issue who asked not to be named, saying the extent of the challenge would be clear in the autumn.
Security is a particular headache, especially as the vision of the Games is to hold many events in the centre of Paris. This includes events around the Eiffel Tower and the central Place de la Concorde, which is close to the president's Elysee Palace.
In addition to the French security forces, over 20,000 private security agents need to be hired to ensure the Games can proceed.
France's top audit body, the Cour des Comptes, warned in a recent report that it was "imperative" to ramp up preparations for the "considerable" security challenge of the games.
It suggested scaling down the ambitious opening ceremony, which is set to take place on the River Seine and feature an armada of 200 boats and some 600,000 spectators.
The Le Monde daily said the prospect of the river opening ceremony - with spectators packed on the banks of the Seine - was giving the organisers "cold sweats".
Some 10 million spectators are expected overall but projects to improve Paris' ramshackle transport infrastructure, notably with two new metro lines, will not be ready when the Games begin.
The Games, which run from July 26 to Aug 11, will pose a unique challenge. The blue-riband athletics and swimming events are due to be held in Seine-Saint-Denis north of Paris, one of the lowest-income areas in France, and a cluster of events in the centre of the capital.
Sixteen other venues across France will also host competitions, with sailing events at the other end of the country in the Mediterranean city of Marseille. Surfing will be in the Pacific territory of French Polynesia, on the other side of the world.
It will be the third time the French capital is hosting the Summer Olympics and 2024 also marks the centenary of the last Paris Games in 1924. The French capital was also the host city of the second edition of the modern Olympic Games, in 1900.