Tahiti firms for 2024 Olympic surf venue
In the latest dispatch from the peculiar collision of surf and Olympics, Tahiti is emerging as a likely candidate to host the 2024 Olympic surfing event.
It was revealed in June that the French Polynesian island had raised its hand after the nation’s President, Edouard Fritsch, met with key IOC members.
According to The Guardian, French organisers have since insisted that Tahiti is the favourite among the top candidates, citing likelihood of swell, experience with top tier surf event hosting and the IOC’s recent push to ‘popularise’ the games, as key reasons for its selection.
Other candidates in the running include Biarritz, Hossegor, Lacanau, and La Torche to the north.
Visuals are key if you want to show off the sport, and palm trees and vibrant-blue tubes have an edge over your typical Euro beachie. Can you imagine the viewership on a battle for gold at Chopes?
So, how does an event held in Paris come to potentially host an offshoot event 15,000kms on the other side of the globe?
They’ve coined it the New Norm reform process, and it involves a relaxed, more flexible approach for venues outside of host countries to hold Olympic events.
Deflating the idea of the South Pacific event, however, is IOC Chief, Thomas Bach, who proclaimed his preference for the site to be closer to the heart of the action.
“My personal opinion is that if you have two or more candidate sites, of the same sporting level, I definitely prefer the option that is closest to the centre of the Games, so that the athletes and spectators can profit from the atmosphere of the Olympics.”
Mr Bach may need to partake in a little more research before suggesting that summertime conditions on the French coast might be “of the same sporting level” as the immaculate oversize curves of in-season Teahupo’o.
Regardless of his leanings, Mr Bach acknowledged that the decision rests with the IOC. The next official update on the matter is to be announced on December 12th.
Taking a step back, it should be noted that while surfing has officially been added to the Provisional List of Sports for 2024, it’s inclusion still hangs on the outcome of (a potentially demoralising) Tokyo 2020. We won’t know for certain until the world has seen surfers dressed with medals on blackened Japanese sand.
Question: Would surfing as a whole benefit from an Olympic event at the End Of The Road?
Oh, and wave pools? They’re officially off the table at Japan 2020 and Paris 2024.