If France is hit again by extremist attacks or a security crisis in the run-up to the 2024 Olympics, the huge opening ceremony Paris plans to hold on the banks of the Seine could be postponed, French President Emmanuel Macron has said.
Macron's comments came in a television interview on Wednesday evening. Many details of the 26 July ceremony remain under wraps to preserve its expected wow factor.
Security, involving tens of thousands of police and soldiers, will be tight: athletes will be paraded in boats on the Seine through the heart of the French capital in the first Summer Games opening ceremony to be held outside the usual stadium setting. Hundreds of thousands of spectators will fill both banks of the river.
"We are preparing a unique opening ceremony that I hope will make the French very proud," Macron told France 5.
"It will be a moment of beauty, true art, a celebration of sport and our values, with the Seine and the capital as the theatre," he added. He did say, however, that the plans could be revised for security reasons.
He cited the deadly extremist attacks that hit Paris in 2015 as an example of the kind of serious crisis that could force a re-think of the plans. "You're 15 days away from the Olympics. There's a series of terrorist attacks. What do you do? Well, you don't organize (a ceremony) on the Seine," he said.
"Of course, being professionals, there are plans B, C and so on. You have to be ready for anything. If there is an increase in international or regional tensions, if there is a series of attacks... this is a plan B," Macron stressed.
Paris 2024 is hoping to finalise its private security plan by the end of the first trimester next year, having so far covered 70% of its needs, organisers said on Wednesday.
"In terms of private security contracts, we have covered 70% of our needs. We've had three tenders that helped us recruit 47 private security companies," Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet told a press conference.
"We've just launched her last tender and it should be done by the end of the first trimester; it's the last part of a two-year effort."
The Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be held from July 26th – August 11th.