100-day countdown to Paris Summer Olympics has begun


There are just 100 days left until the kick-off of the 2024 Olympic Games to be held in Paris, France’s famed City of Light.

The 33rd edition of the Summer Olympics will officially begin on July 26 with an opening ceremony on the River Seine.

The traditional torch lighting ceremony for the 33rd Olympic Games was held in Greece’s ancient city of Olympia on Tuesday.

The first person to carry the torch, lit by Greek actress Mary Mina in a traditional costume at the Temple of Hera, was Greek athlete Stefanos Ntouskos, who won the gold medal in men’s rowing at Tokyo 2020.

The Olympic flame, which will burn throughout the Summer Games, will be delivered to the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee with a ceremony on Friday at Panathenaic Stadium in Athens.

Breakdancing, skateboarding, wave surfing join the Games

Paris 2024, hosted by France for the third time, following 1900 and 1924, will include the new categories of breakdancing, sport climbing, skateboarding, and wave surfing, in addition to the existing events.

Some 10,500 athletes will compete in the 17 days of competitions.

Due to the continuing Ukraine war, while Russian and Belarusian athletes will be able to compete as “neutral athletes” in the Paris 2024 Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided that their countries’ flags, emblems, and national anthems will not be allowed.

Russian and Belarusian athletes participating neutrally will be required to meet all the anti-doping rules that apply to other athletes. No officials from the governments of either country will be invited to Paris as part of the games, nor will they be accredited.

Working from home encouraged

In Paris, where 15 million tourists are expected to flock for the Games, serious congestion in public transportation is feared due to a lack of drivers and delays in metro and train services.

Seeking to stem this congestion, in January the government launched a campaign to encourage Parisians to work from home during the Olympics. As part of the campaign, posters saying “Working from home is important to save time during the Olympic Games” were hung at metro and suburban train stations in Paris.

Medal-winning Olympic athletes will be able to carry home a small souvenir of Paris.

Iron pieces weighing 18 grams each, which were replaced during a renovation of the Eiffel Tower, were incorporated into the gold, silver, and bronze medals for the competition.

Former French basketballer dismissed for criticizing Israel

In addition to the Ukraine war, Israel’s months-long offensive on Gaza also already made its mark on the Olympics, with supporters of Israel succeeding in stifling criticism.

In January, former French basketball player Emilie Gomis was dismissed as Olympic Ambassador in Paris for criticizing Israel.

Gomis was forced to abandon her Paris 2024 Olympics role over criticizing Israel in January for its continuing war on Gaza, which began last October.

On Instagram, Gomis posted a message showing maps of France labeled 1947, 1967, and 2023 as the Israeli flag gradually covers the tricolor flag on the French territory.

“What would you do in this situation?” Gomis said, drawing a parallel with the plight of Palestinians, whose land has fallen more and more under Israel’s control over the decades.

Nearly 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since last October, and over 76,600 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities, according to the Health Ministry in the besieged enclave.

*Writing by Selcuk Bugra Gokalp​​​​​​​

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