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Paris Doesn't Need the Olympics

But, if it plays its cards right, the French capital can use the 2024 Summer Games to speed redevelopment.
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Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Could it have been Paris’s transit network that won it the 2024 Olympic Games? The French capital’s role as host won’t be officially confirmed until September 13, but with Los Angeles pegged to get the games in 2028, Paris pretty much has 2024 in the bag. Already, some French voices have suggested that what gave Paris a clear edge over L.A. is the huge ongoing expansion of the region’s already extensive public transit.

This may well be true. The need for a decent transportation network was made very clear during the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. That mega-event ran less-than-smoothly for any number of reasons, but one major factor was Rio’s heavily clogged roads, at times so badly congested that, as the New York Times noted, not even staff responsible for managing Olympic transit itself could get to work. Even the new subway line that opened just in time to serve visitors to the Olympic park was widely damned for diverting funds to a project that did little to serve the ongoing daily transit needs of ordinary Cariocas.