— Published 7 September 2023

Thomas Bach optimistic about the Olympic Seine

Thomas Bach visited France on Wednesday 6 September. Unsurprisingly, the IOC President reiterated his confidence and optimism in the preparations for the next Olympic and Paralympic Games. On a visit to Vitry-le-François, in the Marne département, where he inaugurated the Salamandre aquatic complex, Thomas Bach was asked about last month’s test events in open water swimming and triathlon in Paris, where pollution prevented them from running smoothly in the Seine. The German leader replied: “We still have a year before the Olympics, everyone is working on this challenge and I am very confident that by the time the Games come around, it will be a huge success, which will benefit the whole population. We mustn’t forget that for a very long time, it was forbidden to swim in the Seine. If, with the Games, Parisians can return to the Seine for leisure activities and swimming, it’s an enormous project and I’m optimistic that we’ll achieve a good result.” The pre-Olympic triathlon event, scheduled for August 17 to 20, was changed at the last minute and reduced to a duathlon – cycling and running – due to pollution levels in the river exceeding the standards of the international federation. But Thomas Bach reiterated this week during his visit to eastern France that such a scenario is out of the question for the Paris 2024 Games. “During the Games, on the Olympic programme, it’s triathlon!“, he insisted. Thomas Bach’s visit to the Marne town was originally scheduled for 25 May, but the IOC President was forced to postpone it after his wife was rushed to hospital. Vitry-le-François is twinned with the German town of Tauberbischofsheim, where Thomas Bach grew up.