Olympics 2024: despite criticism, registrations to become a volunteer explode
The Olympic rings in Paris, host city of the 2024 Olympic Games. © AP/Michel Euler
Text by: RFI Follow
The Paris Olympic Games will take place in just over a year. The organization needs 45,000 volunteers to welcome spectators and athletes during the two weeks of competition. The bids end this Wednesday, May 3 and we can say that success is at the rendezvous despite the criticism of activists opposed to the Olympic Games.
Some 200,000 applications to become volunteers registered a week ago, this is already more than in Tokyo four years ago and the organization of the Olympic Games welcomes it. To apply, three conditions are required: be at least 18 years old on January 1, 2024, speak French and/or English, be mobilizable at least ten days between the opening of the Athletes' Village and up to two days after the closing of the Paralympic Games.
But activists opposed to the Olympics denounce the volunteering system. They signed up as volunteers to try to disrupt the organization. Like Antoine, from the collective Saccage 2024. "The Olympics are a privately owned brand," he told Baptiste Coulon of RFI's France department. We are sold the fact that it will generate economic benefits for small traders, when experience shows us that this is not the case. Job creation is precarious, it lasts just long to build the stadiums and then everything disappears.»
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And Antoine adds: "And behind, we will ask for 45,000 volunteers, knowing that housing is not paid to come and work for free for the Olympics without any remuneration and without any gratuity, except potentially a volunteer jersey and a pat on the back saying: "look, you are going to participate in something incredible".»
Registering and finally not going, going on strike, these are the actions that these activists promise. The organization of the Olympic Games has planned everything: administrative investigations on each volunteer and, in case of withdrawal on D-Day, a team of spare volunteers can be mobilized.
Floating track on the Seine during festivities to promote Paris' bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, June 23, 2017 AFP/Archives
Taking a dip in the Seine, a dream within reach of breaststroke
The French will soon be able to swim in the Seine. Of all the Olympic promises, this is certainly the most spectacular. After a century of swimming banned due to lack of pollution, three Olympic swimming events will take place in the most famous of French rivers, before the French can in turn jump into the water in 2025. In Paris, three bathing sites are expected to open in the summer of 2025.
Taking a dip in the Seine, the dream is not new. More than 30 years ago, former President Jacques Chirac made a promise: "At the last census, more than 25 different fish found adequate living conditions in the Seine. That is why I say that you can make a river clean, and I have also indicated that in three years' time I will go swimming in the Seine to show that it has become a clean river.»
A promise that fell through, but that resurfaced with the 2024 Olympic Games. So how can we guarantee quality water for future swimmers? "It's first of all on the treatment plants," says Pierre Rabadan, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of the Olympic Games and the Seine, at the microphone of Lucie Bouteloup of RFI's France service. There, major work has been put in place to ensure that the water that is discharged into the Seine is of better quality, including its bacteriological impact. The second point is the connections of boats and housing that sometimes discharged their waste water directly into the Marne or the Seine. The third point is to act for rainwater, and for that, we are building in Paris, in Austerlitz, a storm tank of 50,000 cubic meters, which will allow that when it rains very hard, to prevent the sewers from pouring into the Seine.»
And to reassure the most suspicious swimmers, the mayor of Paris ensures that daily water quality tests will be carried out each day of opening for swimming.
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