by Jack Wright
The French national anthem played as a filmed video took viewers to sumptuous sites in Paris. It was the apéritif of the coming Summer Olympic Games at the Olympics that just came to a close. The huge crowd of exuberant Parisiennes waved flags and cheered in front of the Eiffel Tower on Sunday, 8 August 2021, to welcome the Jeux olympiques d’été de 2024 (2024 Summer Olympic Games). The Games will take place in Paris from 26 July to 11.
As the Olympic flame went out in Tokyo, in a ceremony that brought to a close the historic 2020 Game made spectatorless by the COVID-19 pandemic, Spanish-born Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo took over Tokyo’s Olympic duties, receiving and waving an Olympic flag at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, in a traditional handing over to the next city. Hidalgo promised that the Paris Games will be “for the people.”
In contrast to the somber closing ceremony in Tokyo, pop music blared in Paris’ fan zone. French judokas Teddy Pierre-Marie Riner and Clarisse Agbegnenou, both Tokyo gold medalists, paraded on stage. Agbegnenou envisioned an Olympics 2024 where there will be “a warm public,” in allusion to the absence of spectators on Tokyo’s empty grandstands.
But because the pandemic is far from gone (there’s the fifth surge with the threat of the Delta variant hanging over everyone’s arms that are waiting for a booster shot) the fan zone was accessible only to a public that presented a vaccine certificate or negative COVID-19 test.
One could only hope that the accursed pandemic will just be a nightmare that will have been long forgotten by the time the Pairs Games come around – but for the lessons that will have been learned. In fact, that’s the mood and promise at the Eiffel Tower this Sunday.
>Featured image: Eiffel Tower viewed from Montparnasse/Getfunky, CC BY2.0. Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic logo, owned by Paris 2024 Organizing Committee, fair use via Wikimedia Commons. A Guidepost montage.
>French flag/Christian Dorn from Pixabay
>Anne Hidalgo/USCPublicDiplomacy, CC BY-ND2.0
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