The fight, as it were, appears to be over.
Surfing activists who, over the past few months, have rallied against a proposed aluminum judges’ tower to be installed in the reef at Teahupo’o, Tahiti, the site for surfing in the Paris 2024 Olympics, have lost; the suits have won; the reef is doomed.
The news dropped on Wednesday, during which the chief organizer for the Paris 2024 Games essentially said, yeah, we hear your protests, but we don’t care. We’re building the tower anyway. Your precious reef be damned.
Officially, here’s what Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet on Wednesday (per Reuters):
“This is an option that had been looked into but it had been discarded because it would mean the events being judged from a 900-meter distance.
“We can’t broadcast like this in good conditions and in terms of sporting fairness, it would be a problem. Events have always been judged from a tower.
“Tahiti asked to host the surfing events and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to make it happen.”
The “option” Estanguet is referring to came from the International Surfing Association (ISA), which functions as surfing’s Olympic surfing body, and their opposition to the aluminum tower and proposed alternatives, such as judging from the beach, utilizing cameras on boats in the channel, and drone technology.
But the Paris 2024 Olympic machine said: non.
According to a report from France24, the tower will be finished by May 13th, just ahead of the World Surf League Championship Tour’s Shiseido Tahiti Pro – a dress rehearsal, of sorts, for the new metallic monster on the reef at Chopes.
Will the protests continue? Olympic boycotts?
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