Home Covid 19 As the Paris Olympics Promise New Ambition, Old Anxieties Intensify

As the Paris Olympics Promise New Ambition, Old Anxieties Intensify


“We are preparing for all scenarios,” he said. “We need to be humble and innovative to meet all challenges.”

Collomb said, for instance, that the organizers were recruiting thousands of security guards to supplement the police. The former will be in charge of securing Games venues, with the latter deployed in public spaces.

Still, doubts over the level of preparedness were raised after a chaotic Champions League soccer final near Paris only a few months ago. Rising inflation could add to the price tag for the Games. And official auditors are preparing to release a report later this year that in early drafts suggested the pace of preparations was slow and the budgeting ill-defined for the “considerable security challenge” of the Games, according to reports in the French news media.

The report suggested, for instance, that the number of boats taking part in the opening ceremony should be reduced, and it said that “any mismanaged event occurring during the Olympic period that endangers the safety and security of citizens and visitors” would “tarnish not only the image of the Games but also that of France on the international scene.”

Then there is the French tradition of strikes and other labor disruptions. Thobois said organizers have been working closely with unions on a compact to avoid making the Games a bargaining chip, well aware that part of the chaos around the Champions League game in May was the result of a crippling strike on one of the major commuter rails in the city on the day of the match. Those lines ferry millions of people across Paris every day, and are a huge component of the Games’ logistics and transportation plans.

“We are not completely safe from a similar disruption,” said Marc Pélissier, the president of an association of public transportation users in the Paris region.

Of course, the Games are still nearly two years away, a point organizers repeatedly made in response to questions from international reporters this week over everything from hotel accommodations to internet access to transportation across the throbbing megalopolis.

“We’ve got thousands of problems to solve every day,” Thobois said.

But, he added, “our biggest challenge is to keep the ambition, is to keep the dream alive, is to allow people to be part of it and go beyond the difficulties to stay strong on the ambition.”

Aurelien Breeden contributed reporting.