Paris mayor promises the Seine will be ready for the Olympics and vows to swim in famed river before athletes do

PARIS — Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Wednesday assured Olympians that the River Seine will be safe for swimming and promised to take a dip into the waters before athletes dive in.

Open water swimming events are set to be held in the Seine in the upcoming Summer Games, but river pollution levels have sparked health and safety concerns.

The mayor had been set to take a dip on Sunday, but canceled. She told NBC News on Wednesday that the change of plans was due to weather and demands of the campaign season.

“Yes, I will swim in the River Seine, not now because the weather is not so well in Paris, but also because we have election,” she said.

“It is not possible to organize the jump to the river during the election, and now we are with a new date for this very great moment before the opening ceremony, because I want to swim in the River Seine before the opening ceremony.” 

The city on Wednesday launched a website to post daily measures of of E. coli taken from samples of the Seine.

Hidalgo insisted the river is safe for swimming: “It’s ready, it’s ready.”

Marathon swimming is scheduled for Aug. 8-9, while the triathlon is set for July 30-31. In a worst-case scenario, the triathlon could theoretically be reduced to a duathlon, with just running and cycling and no swimming.

A mixed relay of the triathlon is scheduled for Aug. 5.

Hidalgo’s comments came exactly one month before opening ceremonies of the Paris Games — the first Olympics following the Covid-19 pandemic which severely impacted the 2022 Beijing Winter competition and forced a year’s delay of 2020 Tokyo summer event.

Keir Simmons reported from Paris and David K. Li from New York City.

Source link