SAINT-DENIS, France (AFP) — Olympic chief Thomas Bach said he was “very satisfied” with the state of preparations for the Olympic Village of the Paris 2024 Summer Games after a visit to the new build north of the French capital on Friday.
“As an Olympian it’s always a great moment to be in an Olympic Village,” said Bach, who won Olympic fencing team gold for West Germany in the 1976 Games and now heads the International Olympic Committee.
“Every Olympian will tell you that once the Games are over and he’s meeting other Olympic athletes, after one minute at the latest, they will both will speak about the Olympic Village and the experience they made there.”
“This is where the heart of the Olympic Games will beat.”
Bach called the Village, which will house 14,500 athletes and their staff, “really spectacular: It’s compact, it’s very pragmatic.”
“You see not only me but the entire IOC executive board very, very happy and very satisfied with the Village and with the state of preparations,” he said.
The Village covers the equivalent of 70 football pitches and will go on to host 9,000 athletes for the Paralympic Games that follow the 26 July to 11 August Olympics before becoming “a part of the surrounding city, for people in Seine-Saint-Denis.”
The chief organizer of the 2024 Paris Olympics, Tony Estanguet, said he expected no surprises before completion of the Village in the city’s northern surburbs at the end of December with the handover of keys scheduled for early March.
“Les timings are perfectly respected,” insisted Estanguet, a three-time Olympic gold medalist for France in canoeing.
Bach batted off criticism by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo who said that, while the Games infrastructure will be ready, “there are two things for which we will not be ready,” namely transport and also the problem of homelessness.