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The 2024 Paris Olympics Differs From All The Rest

The first Olympic 10K Marathon Swim was held in a rowing basin at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The second Olympic 10K Marathon Swim was held in the Serpentine, a man-made lake in Hyde Park in the center of London, England at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The third Olympic 10K Marathon Swim will be held in Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The fourth Olympic 10K Marathon Swim was held in Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo Bay, Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

All of these courses were loop courses:

  • Four times around the rowing basin in Beijing in 2008, won by by Larisa Ilchenko of Russia and Maarten van der Weijden of the Netherlands
  • Six times around the Serpentine in London in 2012, won by Eva Risztov of Hungary and Ous Mellouli of Tunisia.
  • Five times around an ocean course in Copacabana Beach in 2016, won by Sharon van Rouwendaal and Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands.
  • Four times around Tokyo Bay in 2021 won by Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil and Florian Wellbrock of Germany.

Even the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games plans to have a multi-loop course in the shallow ocean water within the breakwater of Long Beach.

But, Paris will be unique.*

The start and finish of the marathon swim will literally be separated by 10 km.

In the words of many in the open water swimming community, the 2024 Paris Olympic 10K Marathon Swim will be a “real” marathon swim – a point-to-point race down the Seine River in the center of Paris. There will be drafting – and lots of it – as well as tactical positioning. It will be unpredictable and dynamic throughout the swim. Because of the point-to-point course, there are various lines to victory – and all kinds of lead changes. There may be faster places to swim down the Seine – possibly along the shoreline or down the middle of the river.

The start of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Paris will held will be at Pont Alexandre III, a bridge that connects the Champs-Élysées quarter with those of the Invalides and Eiffel Tower. The bridge is widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in the city and has been classified as a French monument historique since 1975.

The women’s 10 km marathon swim will be held on August 8th and the men’s 10 km marathon swim final will be held on August 9th. Both races will start at 7:30 am local time. Spectators will be able to walk nearly along the entire course, cheering on their favorite swimmers and watching the fastest marathon swimmers in the world.

The schedule of events can be seen here. Let the Games begin…

* At the 1896 Athens Olympic Games, the longest swimming event was held in the Aegean Sea where the swimmers started in a boat and swam straight into shore.

© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming

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