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Olympic Hosts Paris and Brisbane Grapple With Security Concerns, Soaring Costs

  • Fatal stabbing near Eiffel Tower raises new concerns about Paris 2024.
  • Stadium expenses in Brisbane prompt political fallout.
Oct 22, 2022; Paris, FRANCE; General view the Eiffel Tower and the Seine river, as seen from Pont Alexandre III in advance of the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games. The bridge will serve as the site for triathlon, open water swim and road cycling.
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Two of the next three cities hosting the Summer Olympics are grappling with more and more issues, showing the strains the massive event can place on municipal resources. 

Already dealing with an extended series of organizational and local issues that have hampered Olympics preparations, the Paris 2024 organizing committee was rocked on Saturday by the stabbing death of a German-Filipino tourist near the Eiffel Tower, by an assailant French authorities described as an Islamist radical. 

The city’s opening ceremony next summer is built around a water parade along the River Seine involving several hundred thousand spectators, a plan unprecedented in scope in Olympics history – and one requiring an ambitious security protocol.

In the wake of the alleged terrorist attack, French authorities said there has been no thought of changing those festivities before next year’s Games.

“We have no Plan B. We have a plan in which there are several sub-plans with a certain number of adjustment variables,” said Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, French sports minister, on France Inter radio. 

Other concerns surrounding Paris 2024 have included local rioting, budget worries, bed-bug infestations, serious corruption allegations, and controversy over alcohol restrictions — plus issues surrounding high ticket prices, ambitious event logistics, and the city’s planned treatment of its homeless during the Games.

Australian Angst

Meanwhile, soaring facility costs are fueling rising dissension within the leadership of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

Days after a $1.8 billion plan emerged to replace the 128-year-old Brisbane Cricket Ground – at public expense — with one of the most expensive sports facility projects in the world, Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner resigned from an intergovernmental committee charged with organizing the Games. Schrinner argued that the committee had lost control of the financial management of the event, and that planning had devolved into a “pointless talkfest.”

“We don’t need overpriced stadiums, we need better transport,” Schrinner said. “This week, it became very apparent that the Intergovernmental Leaders’ Forum is a dysfunctional farce.” 

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