You Won’t Believe What Rich Countries Are Doing at the Paris Olympics!

Jun 10, 2024

PARIS (via Washington Post) — For all the steps Paris organizers have taken to put on the greenest Olympics ever, their boldest measure — the one they’ve touted again and again — pertains to the dorms in the Athletes’ Village. The rooms don’t have air-conditioning. Because of other cooling measures, organizers have assured, the athletes won’t need it. But in a farcical turn, when the Games start next month, an Olympic Village designed to showcase sustainability will be more of an energy hog than organizers had hoped.

Paris’s Green Dream

Paris organizers had grand visions of hosting a truly eco-friendly Olympic Games. They designed the Athletes’ Village with sustainability in mind, featuring white walkways to deflect heat, lush greenery, and a cutting-edge geothermal cooling system that circulates chilled water from underground sources. The goal was to provide a comfortable living environment without relying on energy-intensive air conditioning.

Rich Countries Say “No, Thanks!”

However, some wealthy nations have thrown a wrench into Paris’s green plans. Countries like Greece, Denmark, Australia, and others, which accounted for over 3,000 athletes at the previous Olympics, have decided to bring their own portable air conditioning units to the Athletes’ Village.Alexandra Palli, president of the Greek Olympic committee for environmental sustainability, justified her country’s decision, stating, “They [athletes] need support because what they do is very difficult anyway.”

The Comfort Factor

For elite athletes, temperature control can be a make-or-break factor in their performance and recovery. Some athletes prefer to sleep during the day due to their event schedules, while Paralympians may have difficulty regulating their body temperature. Kat Holmes, a fencer from Washington, D.C., prefers her sleeping temperature set at a cool 69 degrees Fahrenheit, emphasizing the importance of sleeping comfortably during her final Olympics.

Paris’s Long-Term Vision

Despite the influx of portable ACs, Paris organizers remain hopeful about the long-term benefits of the Athletes’ Village’s cooling system. After the Games, the newly constructed buildings will transition into apartments for some 6,000 people, promoting sustainable living and energy efficiency.Georgina Grenon, the Paris 2024 director of environmental excellence, believes that people don’t need to live at 65 degrees Fahrenheit with ACs on full blast to maintain a comfortable living environment.

The Debate Rages On

As the Olympics approach, the debate over balancing environmental goals with the needs of elite athletes continues to rage. While Paris’s commitment to sustainability is commendable, the decision to forgo air conditioning has sparked discussions about finding the right balance between environmental responsibility and ensuring optimal conditions for athletic performance. Stay tuned to see how this heated controversy unfolds!

Contributing Writers

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