On 1 April, the schedule for Paris 2024 has been released, and with just over two years until the Games to go, there has been plenty of time to dissect it and look at some key dates. Remember, all times given are Paris time (UTC +2). The Games takes place over nineteen days. The day of the opening ceremony ("Day 0") is 26 July 2024, with some preliminary action starting in the two days before that, and then events taking place up until Day 16 (11 August), with the closing ceremony taking place once all the sport has finished.
In 2020, Softball and Football were the only sports to begin before the day of the Opening Ceremony. Softball is of course not in Paris 2024, but Football retains that status, with two games in every stadium before the games begin: one game on Day -2 and one game on Day -1 for every stadium, except for the Parc des Princes in Paris, where two games will be on Day -2. The finals will be on Day 14 and Day 15 once again, both at the Parc des Princes. Kick-off times vary from 15:00 at the earliest to 21:00 at the latest, with the finals at 18:00 and 18:30 respectively. Another sport to begin before the Opening Ceremony is Rugby Sevens, which has action on both Day -2 and Day -1, with the Finals on Day 1 and Day 4: the final sessions will begin at 14:30.Tthe sport being earlier in the Games is because the sport is sharing the Stade de France with Athletics, which will have consecutive days of action from Day 7 to Day 15, with morning sessions (10:00-13:00) every day from Day 7 to Day 14: all medals will be handed out in the evenings (19:00-22:00). The Marathons, from the Hôtel de Ville to Invalides will be on Day 15 and Day 16, both beginning at 08:00, while the Race Walks on Pont d'Iéna will begin at 07:30 on Day 6 and Day 12: likely meaning the men's and women's events will be on the same day leaving the other one free for the new mixed relay.
Handball at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium also begins before the Opening Ceremony and will be the first sport to begin, with action on both Days -2 and -1. It is also the only sport to take place on Day 0, with a session beginning at 09:00. It started after the Ceremony in Tokyo, but Handball does have a packed programme, with four two-hour sessions on some days. The finals are on Days 13 and 14, with the bronze matches from 16:30 and the gold matches from 21:00, a change from Tokyo where the final event was on the final day. Finally, the beginning of the Archery at Invalides is now on Day -1 instead of Day 0. Archery will resume on Day 2, with constant action until Day 9. The finals are on Days 2, 3, and 7 at 14:15 and Days 8 and 9 at 13:00.
Beach Volleyball at the Eiffel Tower Stadium will be a constant, beginning at 10:00 on Day 1 and not finishing until Day 15, with action every day in between. The finals are at 21:00 on Day 14 and Day 15. Judo will also begin on Day 1 at the Champs de Mars Arena, with morning sessions mostly starting at 10:00, and the evening sessions were medals are handed out beginning at 16:00. This will last until Day 8, and Wrestling will take over the arena on Day 10, with morning and evening sessions. On Day 11, the medals will be handed out on on sessions beginning at 18:15, with this being the case for every day until Day 16, the day of the opening ceremony, where the session takes place at 11:00.
Fencing is another sport to start with medals from Day 1 at the Grand Palais. There will be morning and evening sessions every day until Day 9, with the medals all handed out in the evening: sessions start from 19:00 to 19:30. On Day 12, Taekwondo will start in the same place, with three sessions per day for four days: the medals all handed out in the evening again, in sessions touted to last from 19:30 to 23:00. This is a change from Tokyo, where Taekwondo was in the first four days.
In Road Cycling, the Time Trial from Invalides to Pont Alexandre III will be on Day 1, beginning at 14:30. The Road Races from Pont d'Iéna will take place on Day 8 and Day 9 (the 'middle weekend'), with the men's event on Saturday starting at 11:00 and the women's event at 14:00 on the Sunday. It seems there is a lot of emphasis on popular events taking place on these two days, which could explain the switch: in 2020 the road race was before the time trial.
Skateboarding street events will take place on the first two days at La Concorde, which is the home of urban sports during the Games, with the early session from 12:00 and the evening one from 17:00 where medals are won. Park events are on Day 11 and Day 12, with all start times thirty minutes earlier than the street counterpart. BMX Freestyle events will also happen here, with a session on Day 4 and the medal session on Day 5 both starting at 14:00. Breaking, an all new sport, will take place on Days 14 and 15, with sessions at 16:00 and 20:00, the latter of which will see medals handed out. Basketball 3x3 is the most packed sport to happen at this venue, with action beginning on Day 4 and going non-stop until Day 10 with medals handed out in the final session beginning at 21:00.
Tennis will take place at the famous Roland Garros, with all medals handed out on the P. Chatrier court. It will begin on Day 1 at 12:00, with the first medal handed out on Day 7 in a session starting at 19:00, but most handed out on the middle weekend again, with medals sessions on both days starting at 12:00. Boxing will also take place on the Suzanne Lenglen court, with action starting on Day 1 at 19:30 and preliminary sessions on Days 2 to 9 beginning at 10:30 and 19:30. After a break on Day 10, medals will be handed out on sessions on Days 11 to 15 starting at 20:00.
Volleyball will once again be in action every day the flame is lit, starting at South Paris Arena on Day 1. The bronze matches will be on Day 14 at 17:00 and Day 15 at 13:00, with the finals on Day 15 at 17:00 and Day 16 at 13:00. Table Tennis takes place on every day from Day 1 to Day 15 this time, with medals handed out in sessions starting at 13:30 on Days 4, 8, and 9, and sessions starting at 15:00 on Days 14 and 15. Weightlifting has been compressed into the final five days of the Games, with medals being earned in every session: starting at 15:00 and 19:30 on the first three days, at 11:30, 16:00 and 20:30 on Day 15 and just the 11:30 session on Day 16.
Artistic Gymnastics preliminaries at the Bercy Arena will take place on Days 1 and 2, with finals from Days 3 to 5 at 17:30, on Day 6 at 18:00, on Day 8 at 15:30, Day 9 at 15:00, and Day 10 at 13:00. The one-day gap is because Trampoline Gymnastics will have both medals on one day, with sessions at 12:00 and 18:00. The other event to take place at the arena will be Basketball. This starts at a location tbc with four preliminary games (the first starting at 11:00) each day from Day 1 to Day 9, with the final phase starting on Day 11. The finals will be on Day 15, with a bronze match at 18:00 and the final at 21:30, and on Day 16, with a bronze match at 10:30 and the final at 14:00.
Badminton is the very first sport to start on Day 1 with action from Porte de La Chapelle Arena starting at 08:30. The finals start from 15:00 from Days 7 to 9, with two finals sessions on Day 10 starting at 09:45 and 14:30. Rhythmic Gymnastics also takes place here, starting on Day 13 and with finals sessions being on Day 14 at 14:30 and Day 15 at 14:00: this is a day earlier than 2020.
Swimming will begin from Paris La Defense Arena on Day 1 with a uniform schedule from Day 1 to Day 8 with a preliminary session at 11:00 and a final session at 20:30, and then on Day 9 just a final session beginning at 18:30. This means that on Day 7 to Day 9, the Athletics and Swimming finals will clash, which will be disappointing to many. Water Polo will begin at the Aquatics Centre on Day 1 and go on every day there until Day 9, before moving to the Paris La Defense Arena, now vacated of swimmers, on Day 10. The medal matches will take place at 09:00 (bronze) and 14:00 (gold) on the final two days: water polo will therefore once again be the final event to end. Diving will also take place at the Aquatics Centre, with finals slipped in where gaps on the Water Polo schedule exist on Days 1, 3, 5, and 7 at 11:00 (likely the synchronised events) before action properly resumes on Day 10, with finals on Days 11, 13, 14 and 15 beginning at 15:00. Artistic Swimming, the final sport at the Aquatics Centre has sessions beginning at 19:30 every day from Day 10 to Day 15 apart from Day 13, the medals are handed out on Days 12 and 15.
Shooting from La Corneuve will likely as per usual have the first medal handed out, with Rifle/Pistol medals handed out each of the first ten days in sessions starting at 09:00 except Days 5 and 10. Shotgun action will start on Day 3, with medals handed out on Days 4, 5, and 8 from 15:30 and Days 9 and 10 at 15:00. Modern Pentathlon will also get underway here with the Fencing Ranking Round on Day 13, before moving to Château de Versailles on Day 14. The laser runs start on Day 15 at 17:00 and Day 16 at 11:00: meaning the programme has been stretched by a day. The Château will mostly be known as the home of Equestrian however, with action beginning on Day 1 and sessions every day up to Day 11, with finals on Days 3, 6, 8 and 9 starting from 10:00-11:00, and on Day 11 starting at 14:00.
Rowing started on Day 0 in 2020 but all action will be with a lit flame in 2024, with Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium seeing action every day from Day 1 to Day 8. 09:30 is the start time on Days 5 to 8, the days where medals will be won. Canoe Slalom will also take place here on all of the first ten days apart from Day 7, with finals starting at 15:30 on Days 2, 3, 5, 6, and 10. Finally, Canoe Sprint begins on Day 11 with action for five days, medals handed out on the last three of those with sessions beginning at 09:30.
Yves-du-Manoir Stadium is the home of Hockey, and action starts from Day 1 and goes on for fourteen days. The bronze matches (14:00) and gold matches (19:00) take place on the last two days, similar to 2020.
Surfing takes place in Teahupo'o in Tahiti, on the other side of the world. There is action on each of the first four days, beginning at 19:00, which is 07:00 local time. All medals are handed out on Day 4. Sailing from Marseille Marina begins on Day 2 with action every day until Day 13 starting at 11:00, and medal races on Days 6, 7, 11, 12 and 13. This was so that sailers could attend the opening ceremony.
The Triathlon events at Pont Alexandre III start at 08:00 on Days 4, 5, and 10. Also taking place there is the Marathon Swimming, beginning on Days 13 and 14 at 07:30. Golf from the Golf National has its events from Day 6 to 9 and Day 12 to 15, starting at 09:00 each day. Sport Climbing from Le Bourget Sport Climbing Venue begins on Day 10, with a medal handed out each day from Day 11 to Day 14 at 17:00. Track Cycling from Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Velodrome also begins on Day 10, with medals handed out every day afterwards with sessions starting from 17:00-18:00 (apart from Day 16 where the session starts at 11:00): preliminary afternoon sessions also exist on Days 12 and 14. There is a slight overlap with the Athletics finals: the final hour of proceedings will overlap with the first hour of athletics, although for fans of both this should be manageable.
This is a lot of sports to pack in, and the full schedule for your favourite sport is in this document, and of course everything is subject to change (and often will, with weather often moving rowing and sailing events in particular). However, here are some points to highlight:
Athletics and Swimming to clash
The Games' show-piece sports are scheduled around each other, with swimming in the first half of the games and athletics in the second half. However, just like Tokyo 2020, they will clash, with Day 7, 8, and 9 seeing both sports having action simultaneously. In 2020, this problem was worked around by having swimming finals in the morning session, but this doesn't seem to be the case this time. Fans of both sports will be disappointed in having to split attention.
Most finals in the evening
Swimming's reluctance to have finals in the morning seem part of a broader shift to having more finals in the evening. Perhaps this is due to the lucrative American broadcasters not wanting to have events in the middle of the night, which is understandable. But it does mean that more finals will take place together than in 2020, leaving to more multi-screen viewing for the TV audience.
A focus on the 'middle weekend'
Days 8 and 9 of the Games, the 'middle weekend', have been singled out for particular attention by organisers. As well as the finals in both Athletics and Swimming, there will also be finals in Tennis and Artistic Gymnastics, as well as the Cycling Road Races. The Games' most illustrious sports and those most popular in France will be very prevalent. Also present are Table Tennis.
Team sports "spread out"
On the final four days, the long team sports will come to an end, but they have been scheduled not to clash. The finals of volleyball, beach volleyball, hockey, handball, basketball, water polo and football will not clash. This could explain the increase in sports starting before the flame is lit, although another explanation is to make it so athletes can attend the Opening Ceremony, which might not have been the case with an early Day 1 start: a match on Day -2 or Day -1 would make this a bit easier. The schedule has been made so all athletes can attend at least one ceremony.
Writer, Totallympics News