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Olympic 2024 Tickets: Horses galloped across a purpose-built pontoon over the historic Grand Canal of Versailles. A pivotal moment for the preparations for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. The Grand Canal, designed by André le Notre and constructed in the mid-17th century, had served. As a waterway for royal boats and a skating spot during frozen winters. Now, 305 years later, it stands as a focal point for another sport Olympic eventing.

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This breathtaking scene unfolded as part of a two-day operational test event (22–23 August) at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designated to host all equestrian events during the upcoming Summer Games of 2024. Five members of the French youth eventing squad took on the role of guinea pig riders. Traversing the pontoon and navigating five fences on the cross-country track.

The event days also encompassed the testing of emergency protocols, including medical and veterinary team access. Along with protocols for the incredibly unlikely scenario of a horse and/or rider ending up in the canal. Tim Hadaway, the FEI games operations director. Shared that the teams involved drew extensively from their experiences of delivering the Games. At Greenwich in 2012 another UNESCO World Heritage Site to organize activities at Versailles.

Paris 2024: Progress Update on Paris Olympic 2024 Eventing Cross-Country Course

Similar to the project we executed in Greenwich Park, this is undeniably very delicate, and heavily utilized. Dearly cherished environment. Thus, the entire project is structured around solutions that aim to minimize the impact. On both the domain itself and its users as much as possible, he remarked. To witness it all coming to fruition, with the presence of horses and various federations, was incredible. A special moment that I believe all parties involved relished.

 For the sport, this is an immensely thrilling prospect. At this juncture, we have every reason to be deeply content with the progress made, he affirmed. The testing approach for these Games has changed. Instead of a comprehensive on-site event. The testing process has been divided into the Versailles cross-country test and briefing, followed by trials of others. Operational and logistical components at Fontainebleau in the upcoming spring. Pierre le Goupil, the course designer for the Paris 2024 Olympic eventing cross-country. Collaborated with the Paris 2024 organizing committee and its primary delivery partner, GL Equestrian Events.

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Additionally, 20 representatives from national federations and other stakeholders joined the proceedings at Versailles. Groundwork was initiated a year ago and is set to persist until the Games. As part of this endeavour, Mark Lucey and Professor Lars Roepstorff have been collecting ground measurements using testing equipment. They have trained the expert turf management team at Normandie Drainage in using these devices. Ensuring continuous access to objective data for informing ground preparations.

Paris 2024: Equestrian Marvel on Versailles' Grand Canal for Paris Olympic 2024

The system is genuinely intriguing and it has demonstrated exceptional stability, noted Mr. Hadaway. He went on to elucidate that the pontoons consist of a series of water-filled tanks. Submerged to a predetermined and agreed-upon level, with the structure anchored to the canal's base. The surface is equipped with matting and sand footing to support the horses. All parties were thoroughly satisfied with it, and the horses were able to cross it effortlessly, he stated.

Etienne Thobois, the director general of the Paris 2024 organizing committee, remarked that. Witnessing the horses in action in the extraordinary backdrop of the Château de Versailles allows everyone. To envision the future and generate an entirely new level of excitement. Catherine Pegard, the president of Versailles Palace, added the site must be reinstated to its original glory. I believe it will emerge even more splendidly. With enhanced accessibility and efforts to strengthen the allure of the gardens, I anticipate greater beauty. To associate one of the embodiments of French culture, one of France's symbols, with these Games. Which will be observed worldwide, is a matter of great pride, she concluded.

The harmonious blend of history, sport, and culture came to life as horses traversed the purpose-built pontoon on Versailles' iconic Grand Canal, a moment that holds immense significance for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Crafted by André le Notre in the 17th century, the Grand Canal has a storied past as a waterway for regal vessels and a wintertime ice rink. Now, spanning 305 years, it takes center stage for a different kind of competition the Olympic eventing.

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This mesmerizing display unfolded during a crucial two-day operational test event held from August 22 to 23. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, slated to host all equestrian events at the Summer Games next year, provided the perfect backdrop. Stepping into the role of pioneers, five young members of the French eventing squad took to the pontoon, surmounting five cross-country track fences. The event also served as a platform for evaluating emergency protocols, including medical and veterinary team accessibility.

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Contingencies were even discussed for the extraordinarily unlikely scenario of a horse and/or rider ending up in the canal. Tim Hadaway, the director of FEI games operations, highlighted the transfer of knowledge from orchestrating the 2012 Games at Greenwich another UNESCO World Heritage Site – to the current preparations at Versailles. He emphasized the sensitivity of the environment and the goal of minimizing impact, echoing the approach undertaken at Greenwich. The parallels between the Greenwich Park project and this endeavour are striking, both involving historically significant and well-loved settings.

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Our strategy revolves around solutions that safeguard both the environment and the park's patrons, he noted. Observing these plans materialize, with the presence of horses and representatives from various federations, marked a momentous and gratifying experience for everyone involved, Mr. Hadaway added. He commended the remarkable progress achieved by the Games organizing team over the past year, expressing excitement about the sport's prospects. The testing methodology for this edition of the Games departs from tradition.

France Olympic: Unveiling the Innovative Preparations for the Paris Olympic Eventing Cross-Country Course

Instead of a comprehensive on-site event, it adopts a segmented approach, encompassing the Versailles cross-country trial and briefing, followed by the assessment of operational and logistical aspects at Fontainebleau in the coming spring. Paris 2024 Olympic eventing cross-country course designer Pierre le Goupil joined forces with the Paris 2024 organizing committee and their principal partner, GL Equestrian Events. In the presence of 20 representatives from national federations and other stakeholders, they engaged in collaborative discussions and planning at Versailles.

With groundwork initiated a year prior and set to extend until the Games commence, meticulous measurements of ground readings have been undertaken by Mark Lucey and Professor Lars Roepstorff, facilitated by testing devices. These readings will inform ground preparations, supported by Normandie Drainage's expert turf management team, who have been trained in using the measurement tools. The Olympic cross-country course will feature two pontoon crossings, acquired through rental agreements. Describing the innovative system, Mr. Hadaway explained that the pontoons consist of water-filled tanks, submerged to a predetermined level, and anchored to the canal bed. A matting and sand footing surface ensures horse comfort and safety.

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Equestrian Elegance at Versailles for Olympic Paris

The system's stability impressed everyone, and the horses crossed it without any difficulties, he affirmed. Etienne Thobois, director general of the Paris 2024 organizing committee, articulated the significance of witnessing horses in action against the backdrop of the Chateau de Versailles. He emphasized the unique excitement it generates, offering a glimpse into the future event.

Catherine Pegard, president of Versailles Palace, shared her pride in associating this symbol of French culture with the global spectacle that the Games will become. As these Games capture the attention of the world, it's a source of immense pride to link them with a bastion of French heritage, she concluded. The prospect of enhancing accessibility and the allure of the gardens adds to the excitement, ensuring the legacy of this historic event endures for years to come.

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