In the heart of the French capital, Place de la Concorde, the iconic public square that connects the Tuileries Gardens and the Champs-Elysées, will be transformed into a spectacular urban park for the duration of the Olympic Games in 2024.
The park will host the dynamic and youth-focused sports of breaking, BMX freestyle and skateboarding, and 3X3 basketball competitions during the Games. It will host not only these sports competitions, but also entertainment, with concerts, exhibitions and sports demonstrations all planned to take place at the Concorde Urban Park too.
Olympian BMX athlete Sarah Walker, the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Athletes' Commission representative on the IOC Paris 2024 Coordination Commission, expressed her excitement about the unique settings for sports at Paris 2024 and the impact it will have on accessibility and the overall experience.
She said: “Transforming the Place de la Concorde into an urban park for Paris 2024 will provide an incredible platform for these exhilarating sports. Being in the heart of the city, the athletes will be able to feel the fans' excitement, and showcase their skills against such an amazing urban backdrop. Having the privilege to view multiple fields of play will create an unforgettable experience and atmosphere for athletes and fans alike, while also providing unique opportunities for interaction.”
French skateboarder Charlotte Hym added: "Practising in Paris, in the middle of the city, is exactly what skating is all about. Thinking that you'll get to perform at Place de la Concorde makes you even more eager to give it everything you’ve got and make it to the Olympic Games in 2024."
The park is located close to other competition venues from the Champ-de-Mars to the Esplanade des Invalides and Pont d’Iéna, accessible by public transport, and special care has been taken to ensure easy access to the park for people with impaired mobility. It is a temporary venue whose installations can be redeployed once the events are completed to the benefit of local clubs and communities.
The Concorde Urban Park builds upon the successful inclusion of urban sports at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, where these dynamic and spectacular sports were featured in urban parks to maximise public participation.
This concept is fully aligned with the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020+5 to make the Olympic Games experience more inclusive by bringing the Games to the people, taking events out of traditional venues and to more urban and popular settings.
And indeed the urban park concept has already proved to be popular with the public as ticket sales show. On the first day of the second phase of sales, tickets in all categories for BMX freestyle and breaking were no longer available after less than two hours.
The Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms also introduced a new flexibility into the Olympic programme, giving the opportunity to organising committees to propose news sports for inclusion. The Paris 2024 Organising Committee proposal was centred on gender equality and youth, with skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing and breaking proposed as additional sports, and these were confirmed by the IOC Executive Board back in December 2020.
Sport climbing will be hosted at the newly built Le Bourget Climbing venue, leaving an important legacy for the local population in the Seine-Saint-Denis department. Meanwhile, surfing competitions will take place at the legendary surfing spot Teahupo’o in Tahiti.