Paris Olympics Announce Backup Plan for Open Water Events Due to Seine Pollution Concerns

Paris Olympics Announce Backup Plan for Open Water Events Due to Seine Pollution Concerns

With the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics are just around the corner, organizers announced a backup plan for the open water swimming and triathlon events.

The decision comes after recent tests by The Prefecture of the Île-de-France Region and the City of Paris. The tests showed high levels of fecal bacteria, including E. coli for the period between June 10-16. More recent data showed the concentrations of enterococci and E.coli bacteria were below legal thresholds six out of nine days between June 24-July 2.

USA TODAY Sports and For The Win recently reported, Team USA swimmers Ivan Puskovitch and Katie Grimes, both set to compete in the 10k open water race, alongside their coach Ron Aitken, expressed serious concerns over the water quality. Until recently, they had not been informed about any alternative venues, only about potential changes to competition dates.

Paris Olympics officials confirmed if the Seine remains unsafe, the open water events will move to the Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium. Located just outside Paris, this venue is already slated to host canoe-kayak and rowing events. If swimming in the Seine isn’t possible, the triathlon will become a duathlon, without swimming.

“The rules of World Triathlon allow, as a final resort, for the competition to be held in a duathlon format. On the other hand, in order to guarantee that marathon swimming events could still be held if all other contingency plans were exhausted, we have initiated a fallback plan based on the Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium,” a Paris 2024 spokesperson told Reuters.

The men’s and women’s individual triathlons are scheduled for July 30 and 31, with a mixed relay event on August 5. The marathon swimming events are set for August 8 and 9. Organizers have made it clear that if adverse weather or other conditions impact the Seine’s water quality, the events will either be rescheduled or moved to the backup venue at Vaires-sur-Marne. The first Olympic events begin on July 24, with the Opening Ceremonies on July 26.