Olympic triathlon highly uncertain: Paris’ water quality still below safety standard

The Seine (Picture: prachtigparijs)

Despite the 1.4 billion euros that the city of Paris spent just last year to improve the water quality of the Seine, the water quality is still very poor. The quality is so bad, in fact, that the Olympic triathlon is in jeopardy and a plan B needs to be looked at. A plan B that, incidentally, does not exist to this day.

Swimming in the Seine has been forbidden since 1923 – due to poor water quality – and that is mainly due to a far too high concentration of E.coli bacteria. However, this is still true today, just under six months before the Paris Olympic Games, and recent research has shown that the Seine’s water quality still does not meet the European Union’s minimum requirements for safe bathing water. This is mainly because during heavy rainfall, sewage – with feces – flows directly into the world-famous river.

Last year, some Olympic test events were already turned into duathlons because the poor water quality prevented swimming. Two weeks before the event, World Triathlon was confident that swimming would be possible. The organizers of the Olympics also guaranteed that the water quality would be better next year – i.e. in the summer of 2024 – but for the time being all signs are very negative at this point and athletes can cautiously consider a duathlon, relocation of the event or even cancellation.