after Taylor Swift, Paris La Défense Arena is preparing to install its two swimming pools

after Taylor Swift, Paris La Défense Arena is preparing to install its two swimming pools
after Taylor Swift, Paris La Défense Arena is preparing to install its two swimming pools

Paris 2024 took over the keys to Paris La Défense Arena on Wednesday May 15. The hall will host swimming and water polo events during the Olympic Games.

This is the start of a two-month project before the first big test. Three days after the last of Taylor Swift’s four spectacular concerts, the Paris La Défense Arena venue was officially entrusted to the organizing committee of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The symbolic handover of the keys took place on Wednesday May 15 in the presence of former fencer and Minister of Sports Jean-François Lamour, vice-president of owner Ovalto, and Denis Navizet, chief swimming officer for the Olympics.

“It’s a real Source of pride,” rejoiced Jean-François Lamour. “It’s a huge hall with 45,000 spectators, very modern. We have to tame this hall. We’re going to be at their side. It’s up to them to step up.” the swimming pools and to be at work to host the events But we listen to their requests, to offer them the best possible conditions.

During this Olympic period, the rings will replace the Arena logo on June 5, but the hall will keep its name. Initially, there was talk of gymnastics events taking place there. Swimming finally took over in October 2019.

“I am not saying that this hall was designed to host the Games. But in the head of Jacky Lorenzetti, its owner and designer, there was this idea that this hall would become Olympic one day, assures Jean-François Lamour. able to host concerts, rugby matches and other events. Hosting the Games, for a venue of this scale, unique in Europe, is something exceptional.

A competition pool, another for training

Since the end of the Taylor Swift concerts on May 12, the teams have been responsible for completely emptying the Arena, to make it available to Paris 2024, which started work on the morning of May 15. First step: raise the level of the floor using “scaffolded beaches”, and level it with the swimming pool (2.30 meters). This will be placed directly on the ground. These swimming pools arrive in kits, are assembled in the Arena, then will be sent to Seine-Saint-Denis after the Games. The first elements of the swimming pool will arrive during the week of May 20. There will be two swimming pools: one for competitions, another for training. The room will be cut in two, widthwise, by the 1,000-seat stand reserved for the media.

On one side, therefore, the competition pool with around 15,000 places for spectators (the equivalent of half of the stands). On the other, the warm-up pool. The filling of the swimming pools will start at the end of June (20 or 27). A procedure which will last two days. Holes were drilled in the walls of the Arena last summer to allow large pipes to pass through. The water is taken directly from the network of the city of Nanterre.

“It’s a challenge, but it will go very well, I’m convinced. (…) There was ultimately very little adaptation to install the two pools. We could have imagined that the weight of water poses a problem on the foundations, but not at all. It’s all calculated,” says Jean-François Lamour. “When we see the lights come on and the athletes compete, we will know that it was the right solution,” anticipates Denis Navizet.

700,000 spectators expected

A first test is planned for July 13 with swimmers from Nanterre. As for the swimming events, they are scheduled from July 27 to August 4. But the hall also hosts water polo tournaments, with the finals scheduled for August 10 and 11.

With two sessions per day, 30,000 supporters are expected daily, 700,000 in total over the entire Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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