The 2024 Olympics in Paris are set to be the largest ever in terms of participating nations. A record-breaking 206 countries will be sending athletes to compete in the Games this summer. This tops the previous high of 205 teams from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The growth in competing countries reflects the expanding reach of Olympic sports across the globe. As more nations develop structured athletic programs and governing bodies, they gain eligibility to qualify athletes for more Olympic events. Several countries are making their inaugural Olympic appearance this year as well.
Controversies Surround Olympic Host City
The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris has not been without its fair share of controversies in the host city. Leading up to the Games, there have been several major issues that surfaced regarding construction, infrastructure, and environmental impact.
Some of the most hotly debated Paris Olympic controversies include:
- Construction delays and cost overruns on new venues
- Questions over the environmental footprint with new facilities
- Complaints about traffic congestion from infrastructure projects
- Debates over tax dollars funding Olympic costs
There were also controversies that have emerged in previous recent host cities:
|Rio de Janeiro
|Concerns about water pollution, venue delays
|Environmental damage, lack of lodging
|Budget overruns, plagiarized logo
|Human rights issues, environmental impact
The controversies reflect the challenges that come with hosting major global sporting events like the Summer and Winter Olympics. Paris has dealt with its fair share leading up to the 2024 Games as well.
New Sports Debut at This Year’s Games
The 2024 Paris Olympics will feature four new sports added to the program: skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, and breakdancing. The new sports reflect an effort by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to attract more youth appeal for the Summer Games.
Skateboarding and sport climbing were first introduced at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, while surfing and breakdancing are making their inaugural appearances in Paris. Both men and women will compete in each event. Some athletes to watch include:
- Skateboarding: Sky Brown (GBR), Brighton Zeuner (USA)
- Sport Climbing: Janja Garnbret (SLO), Brooke Raboutou (USA)
- Surfing: Caroline Marks (USA), Brisa Hennessy (CRC)
- Breakdancing: Sunny Choi (KOR), Victor Montalvo (FRA)
With youth-oriented, social media-friendly new sports reaching the Olympics, the hope is the next generation of fans will increasingly tune in to the Summer Games. Early indications are viewership numbers have trended positively from the debut events over the last couple Olympics.
Highlights and Standout Moments from Past Olympics
The Olympics have produced countless iconic moments and athletes over the years that capture the history and spirit of the Games:
- Jesse Owens dominating track & field in 1936 Berlin
- The legendary swimmer Mark Spitz winning 7 golds in 1972 Munich
- Mary Lou Retton scoring a perfect 10 in gymnastics at 1984 Los Angeles
- Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals in swimming in 2008 Beijing
- Usain Bolt’s electrifying world record sprints in 2008, 2012, 2016
- The U.S. Olympic “Miracle on Ice” upset win in men’s hockey in 1980
The list goes on of the highlight reel, jaw-dropping feats, records, and performances across both the Summer and Winter Olympics. From underdog triumphs to barrier-breaking athletes, the Olympics have created cultural touchpoints and enduring icons.
As the 2024 Paris Games get set to add to that legacy, a new generation of stars will emerge while the Olympics aim to continue inspiring the world through international athletic competition.