TSX REPORT: Paris 2024 names first torchbearers; Hidalgo to swim in the Seine; 2027 Pan Am Games hosting fee reportedly $20 million

The Paris 2024 concept for the Opening Ceremony on the Seine (Image: Paris 2024)

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1. Paris 2024 names torch-bearing teams and runners
2. Gomis resigns from Paris 2024 amid anti-Israel post
3. Hidalgo promises to swim in the Seine!
4. Paris-area hoteliers worried, public-sector staff wants bonuses
5. Story states Pan Am Games hosting fee was $20 million

● The themes, teams and captains for the Olympic Torch Relay in Paris were revealed, with 69 teams of 24 scheduled to run during the procession across France and its overseas departments from 8 May to 26 July, the day of the opening ceremony. A separate relay will be held for the Paralympic Games from 25-28 August.

● Emelie Gomis, the French women’s basketball Olympic silver medalist from 2012, resigned from the Paris 2024 board and as a paid ambassador for the Terre des Jeux program in view of her anti-Israel post on Instagram on 9 October, two days after the deadly Hamas attack on Israel.

● Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo promised to swim in the Seine River prior to the Paris 2024 opening as a demonstration of the completion of the long-promised cleaning of the river, closed by law to swimmers since 1923! Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet said there is no back-up plan for the opening, only the Seine.

● The Ile-de-France regional association of hotels and restaurants asked public officials – including Hidalgo – to stop being so publicly negative about the preparations for the Games. At the same time, public-sector employees are asking governments for Games-period bonuses to keep from striking.

● A story from a Colombian journalist stated that the host fee for the 2027 Pan American Games was $20 million and that the Colombian government’s failure to pay an agreed-to $4 million segment of the fee due by the end of 2023 was a key factor in the Games being taken away from Barranquilla.

World Championship: Ice Hockey (Canada and U.S. undefeated in women’s World U-18 Champs pool play) ●

Panorama: U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (101-member Winter Youth Olympic Games team named) = U.S. Center for SafeSport (quadrennial athlete survey now underway) = NCAA (Division I Council passes new NIL policies) = Curling (Russian and Belarusian ban extebded) = Fencing (Ex-Russians Bida and Lokhanov asking for U.S. citizenship) = Football (Argentina and Brazil both fined over World Cup qualifier melee) = Swimming (Ledecky and Finke win 1,500s at Tyr Pro Swim Series Knoxville) ●

Paris 2024 names torch-bearing teams and runners

The Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay will be uniquely organized, with teams of 24 individuals running in 69 segments and the captains of each team the designated torchbearer. Those teams and their captains were announced on Wednesday, with 69 teams named, with captains and the dates on which they will carry the flame.

The first team will represent “Disability Sport” on 10 May, captained by Antoine Avati, a Paralympic athlete, to underline the importance of the hosting of the first Paralympic Games to take place in France. France previously hosted the 1992 Winter Paralympic Games in Tignes-Albertville.

Teams representing all of the Olympic sports will be included in the Olympic Torch Relay, with another relay to be organized prior to the opening of the Paralympic Games. There will be 1-2 teams running each of the route, over eight-minute legs. Each is designed to be a showcase for the featured federation, for example with 24 skateboarders participating in their relay legs.

The Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay will have 10,000 total torchbearers – mostly individuals – from 8 May to 26 July, the day of the opening on the Seine River.

The relay captains include athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers, some of whom are well known and some not. World Rowing President Jean-Christophe Rolland will lead the rowing-themed relay segment on 21 July. Beijing 2008 BMX cycling winner Anne-Caroline Chausson, now 46, will lead the cycling segment on 19 June; five-time World Champion swimmer Camille Lacourt will carry on 19 July, and Rio 2016  women’s RS:X sailing gold medalist Charlene Picon will captain the sailing-themed team on 4 June.

The Paralympic Torch Relay will have 1,000 total torchbearers and run from 25-28 August.

Gomis resigns from Paris 2024 amid anti-Israel post

The French newspaper La Provence reported Wednesday that London 2012 women’s basketball silver medalist Emilie Gomis (FRA) has resigned from her position as a member of the Paris 2024 board of directors and from her paid post as an ambassador of the Terre des Jeux program for the organizing committee.

Gomis posted an Instagram message two days after the deadly Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October showing a map of France in 1947, 1967 and 2023 being covered by the Israeli flag and asking “What would you do in this situation?” This was prior to the Israeli response and was noted as clearly anti-Israel.

The Paris 2024 ethics committee reviewed the case and the organizing committee board noted Wednesday that it “considered that this publication contravened its duty of neutrality and no longer allowed it to be able to calmly carry out its missions with Paris-2024.

“Emilie Gomis, in a shared concern for appeasement and responsibility, wished to present her resignation from her mandate as member of the Board of Directors and ambassador of the Terre de Jeux 2024 label to Paris 2024 which takes note of this.”

An organizing committee statement cited by La Provence also added:

“The members of the Board of Directors and the General Assembly were thus able to note that Emilie Gomis condemned the attacks of October 7 in Israel, all forms of anti-Semitism or discrimination, contrary to her values. Emilie Gomis also shared his regrets regarding its publication and apologized.”

Gomis, 40, had already been dismissed from the Athletes Commission of the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) over the same incident.

Hidalgo promises to swim in the Seine!

Then-Paris mayor Jacques Chirac promised in 1990 that the Seine River, in which swimming had been banned since 1923, would be cleaned by 1993. But he did not keep that promise, even after becoming French President from 1996-2007.

Current Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has made the renovation of the Seine a signature priority ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, made the same promise on Wednesday, with the river-cleaning project nearing completion.

“We will swim in the Seine,” she said at the Paris City Hall, stating that prior to the opening of the Games on 26 July, “a big collective swim in the Seine” will be arranged.

“Everyone said it was impossible; we did it,” said Hidalgo, who has presided over a €1.6 billion project to clean up the Seine and its main tributary, the Marne, open for public swimming, at least at specific sites. Three sites for public use are envisioned to be opened after the Games period. (€1 = $1.10 U.S.)

During the Games, the Seine will host the open-water swimming competitions and the triathlons.

As for the opening ceremony, to be held on the Seine on 26 July, Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet said in a radio interview:

“Today, with the artistic director for the ceremony, Thomas Jolly, we are working on an opening ceremony on the Seine. Our teams are not working on any other location.”

French President Emmanuel Macron had said in an interview that the ceremony could be moved in case of a security emergency.

Paris-area hoteliers worried, public-sector staff wants bonuses

The worrying season prior to the Olympic Games has descended on Paris. The Ile-de-France Hotel and Restaurant Group (GHR) sent an open letter to all levels of governments – national, regional and local – asking to tone down their negative commentaries – “anxious communications” – about the Games.

Wrote GHR President Pascal Mousset:

“Why order Ile-de-France residents to remain teleworking during the Olympics? On the one hand, our workers cannot do it (as well as many others), and on the other hand, we do not wish to relive a situation which would be similar to that of confinements.

“Why acknowledge that transport will be a problem during the Olympics? A defeatist speech will not win us. Don’t we still have time to imagine alternatives and concrete solutions?

“In general, we would very much like all the authorities that you represent to hold, jointly and severally, a positive and responsible discourse. We cannot be helpless victims of dissonant and negative discourse.”

Mousset refers to multiple comments from government officials, including Paris Mayor Hidalgo and Prefect of Police Laurent Nunez, about conditions in Paris this summer, all expressing concern over security and transport, as well as Macron’s worries over the opening on the Seine.

At the same time, Agence France Presse reported that public-sector unions are pushing for extra pay during the Games:

“Tense negotiations between the government and police trade unions over Olympics bonuses are underway, with one union holding a first protest on Wednesday to demand a one-off payment of 1,500 euros per officer.

“Health workers, railway staff and other public sector staff from street cleaners to metro drivers are all formulating bonus pay demands, with Macron’s centrist government desperate to avoid strikes or disruption during the global showpiece.”

Observed: As veterans of Olympic and other major-event organizing committees know, nothing is easy. But the hoteliers and restauranteurs are also right: these things need to get worked out and the show must go on.

Story states Pan Am Games hosting fee was $20 million

According to a story by Colombian journalist Jairo Giraldo Jimenez that appeared on the AIPS Web site Wednesday, the hosting fee for the 2027 Pan American Games agreed to by Colombia – with the event to take place in Barranquilla – was $20 million U.S.:

“Once the Atlantico capital was designated as the host of the grand event in 2021 and received the flag in 2023 in Santiago, Chile, the commitment of the national government was to pay a total of eight million dollars to Panam Sports, divided into two instalments of four million each.

“The agreed terms were as follows:

“● $2 million (already paid) from the Pumarejo [Barranquilla] City Hall.
“● $4 million by December 31, 2023, from the Ministry of Sports.
“● $4 million by January 31, 2024, from the Ministry of Sports.
“● $4 million for the year 2025.
“● $4 million for the year 2026.
“● $2 million for the year 2027.”

The $4 million payment due by 31 December 2023 was not paid and triggered the removal of the Games from Barranquilla. As noted in Wednesday’s post, a letter from Panam Sports has asked for National Olympic Committees with interest in the event to signal their interest by 30 January 2024.

Inquiries are being made by the Colombian Congress about the failure to make the payments, with the current Sports Minister, Astrid Rodriguez, being questioned; she took over the post in March of 2023. Another complication was the concern of Colombian President Gustavo Petro about the costs of the event, and a suggestion that the 2027 Pan Ams could be spread to venues also in the Caribbean.

The story noted interest from Paraguay, Brazil and Mexico for the 2027 Pan Ams, but also noted “that Chile and the United States are also expressing interest.” The U.S. reference is odd (and likely incorrect) with the 2028 Olympic Games coming to Los Angeles, but there are certainly American cities for which the Pan Ams would make sense at a future time. The U.S. has not hosted a Pan Ams since Indianapolis in 1987.


● Ice Hockey ● Two-time defending champ Canada and the U.S. – eight-time champions – finished undefeated in pool play at the IIHF women’s World U-18 Championship ongoing in Zug (SUI).

Both teams were 3-0, with the Canadians outscoring their opponents by 29-1 and the Americans by 19-2. In the quarterfinals, Canada will play the Swiss (0-3) and the U.S. will face Germany (0-3). Third-seed Sweden (2-1) will play the Czech Republic (1-2), and fourth-seed Finland (2-1) will match up with Slovakia (1-2).

The semifinals will be re-seeded and be played on Saturday (13th) with the medal matches on Sunday (14th). The U.S. and Canada have faced off against each other in the final of this tournament 13 times previously.


● U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee ● The USOPC unveiled a 101-athlete team for the upcoming Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon (KOR) beginning on 19 January:

“USA’s delegation will include 101 total athletes representing ten National Governing Bodies and ranging in age from 13 to 18. Team USA will compete in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, freeski, freestyle dual moguls, snowboard, ski jumping, nordic combined, ice hockey, biathlon, bobsled, skeleton, curling, luge and speedskating over 13 total days of competition.”

This is the largest-ever U.S. delegation to the Winter YOG, having sent 95 in 2020, 62 in 2016 and 63 at the inaugural edition in 2012.

● U.S. Center for SafeSport ● The 2024 edition of the SafeSport Athlete Culture and Climate Survey is underway, with participants asked to relate abusive experiences or other misconduct.

The survey is being operated through 9 February by a third party, Pacific Research and Evaluation, to ensure complete anonymity for respondents, with the results due in May or June. The first survey of this type was done in 2020 and attracted almost 4,000 responses.

● NCAA ● The Associated Press reported that the NCAA Division I Council approved new policies concerning name-image-likeness programs:

“The policy calls for creation of a database of deals that could be accessed by athletes and schools, a registry of companies that want to work with athletes and recommendations for standardized components of a NIL contract.”

Further details are forthcoming; the action took place during the ongoing NCAA Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.

● Curling ● The World Curling Federation board extended the suspension of Russia and Belarus, through the end of the 2023-24 season:

“Both Member Associations had previously been excluded from participating in World Curling events until 31 December 2023. This has now been extended following ongoing concerns that their involvement would damage the integrity of the events due to the conflict in Ukraine.”

● Fencing ● USA Today reported that former Russian fencers Sergey and Violetta Bida – husband and wife – and Konstantin Lokhanov are pursuing U.S. citizenship, with a view to possible qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games.

The story said that USA Fencing and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee are supporting the request for fast-tracked citizenship. Sergey Bida, 30, was a Tokyo Olympian for Russia and won a Team silver medal in Epee and was the 2019 Worlds silver medalist in Epee. His wife, Violetta, also left Russia after the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and came to the U.S.; she is now pregnant.

Lokhanov, 25, stands 6-7 and was 24th in Tokyo in the men’s Sabre and was a member of the seventh-place Russian team entry.

Neither is guaranteed a place on the U.S. team if they do get citizenship. Both of the Bidas have had criminal charges filed against them in Russia for leaving the country as they were members of military reserve units.

● Football ● The 22 November violence at Brazil’s Maracana Stadium in Rio in the FIFA World Cup qualifier with Argentina has resulted in fines for both national federations. FIFA fined Brazil CHF 50,000 (CHF 1 = $1.18 U.S. today) and Argentina was fined CHF 20,000, both for “Order and security at matches.”

Those were the only fines those federations received. Argentina was also fined CHF 100,000 for team misconduct (delayed kick-off), discriminatory behavior by supporters and an invasion of the field of play for matches against Ecuador on 7 September and Uruguay on 16 November. Half of the fine must go to “a plan against discrimination” with the other half suspended for six months and one home match will be held with 50% of available seats.

Brazil was also fined CHF 5,000 for team misconduct (delayed kick-off) and security issues for an 8 September 2023 match against Bolivia, and CHF 15,000 for team misconduct in a game against Uruguay on 17 October 2023.

● Swimming ● The USA Swimming Tyr Pro Swim Series opened in Knoxville on Wednesday night, with the 1,500 m races. Superstar Katie Ledecky won the women’s race by more than 52 seconds in 15:38.81, the no. 17 performance all-time … of which she has all 17! Ashley Wall was second overall in 16:31.13 as the winner of the third section.

Tokyo Olympic champ Bobby Finke took the men’s 1,500 in 15:04.43, more than 10 seconds up on Austria’s Felix Auboeck (15:14.70), the 2021 World Short-Course 400 m Free gold medalist.

The meet has loads of big names, including Tokyo superstars Caeleb Dressel and Ledecky, using the meet as a check on their training progress heading toward the Olympic Trials in June, with competition continuing through Saturday.

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