One leg of a multipart track and field contest to be held during the 2024 Summer Olympics should go through the Seine, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo proposed Wednesday, France 24 reported. She indirectly promised that the river known in part for its pollution would be clean enough to swim in by that time, and hoped to increase Paris’ chances of being named the host city.
“I propose that the triathlon competition – which is a major, magnificent competition – should take place in the Seine, at the foot of the Hotel de Ville [City Hall],” Hidalgo told France’s BFM television. “To make that happen, we must, of course, continue to work on the quality of water in Paris. We don’t yet have the water quality needed to allow people to swim.”
The Olympic triathlon traditionally comprises running, swimming and cycling.
Although its water has improved over the years, the Seine -- the second-longest river in France, it goes through Paris before ultimately flowing into the English Channel -- still remains heavily polluted, with high levels of toxin-loaded sediment and bacteria, among other contaminants such as sewage and runoff from rain and melted snow, according to the Encyclopedia of the Earth.
Hidalgo’s proposal to hold the triathlon in the Seine is similar to a promise previous Paris Mayor Jacques Chirac made in 1988, when he swore to clean up the Seine. Chirac even said he would swim in the Seine after it was free from debris. He never made that swim.
“I will not make that kind of promise,” Hidalgo said, referring to Chirac. “The legacy of the games in Paris could be a major ecological legacy ... and, moreover, our candidacy will be boosted by this proposition.”
Other cities that have placed bids for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games include Rome; Hamburg, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; and Boston. The deadline to submit a bid is Sept. 17, and a decision is expected to be made in 2017.