— Published 19 April 2023

Australian athletes want to stay in the athletes’ village

Polemic in Australia after the decision of the national Olympic committee (AOC) not to authorize the athletes to remain in the village of the Games of Paris 2024 once their competition finished. Announced last week, it is strongly criticized by the future Olympians, notably in the ranks of swimming. According to the directives of the AOC, the Australian athletes will be able to stay in Paris, after the end of their competition, but they will have to leave the village. A decision justified by the director general of the authority, Matt Carroll, by a concern to protect the preparation and the peace of the competitors engaged in the second week. The lessons of the Games of Tokyo, where the stay of the athletes in the village had been very reduced because of the sanitary crisis, were very positive, explains the AOC. The experience will be repeated next year in Paris, where the Australians will have to leave the village within 48 hours after the end of their event. Reaction of the swimmer James Magnussen, triple Olympic medalist, now retired from the pools, quoted by the Herald Sun: “As an athlete who has competed at two Olympics, I strongly believe that everyone who makes the Australian team in Paris deserves to have the full Olympic experience. That includes staying in the village for the closing ceremony and supporting their teammates. Being an Olympian is not just about winning medals. It is a rare achievement that deserves to be properly celebrated – no matter what result they achieve. Most athletes only ever get to one Olympic Games, so just making the team is the reward for a lifetime of hard work. They should be allowed to soak up every moment. Sending them home early just makes no sense.”