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Surfing at the 2024 Olympics: La Torche and Lacanau ready to replace Tahiti if necessary

The sites of Lacanau (Gironde) and La Torche (Finistère), former candidates for hosting the surfing events of the 2024 Olympics, declared on Wednesday that they were prepared to host the event in the event that it could not be held in Tahiti.

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Surfing at the 2024 Olympics: La Torche and Lacanau ready to replace Tahiti if necessary

The sites of Lacanau (Gironde) and La Torche (Finistère), former candidates for hosting the surfing events of the 2024 Olympics, declared on Wednesday that they were prepared to host the event in the event that it could not be held in Tahiti.

“We continued to work quietly and today if we call on us, we will of course be happy to host the Olympic surfing events,” Laurent Peyrondet, the mayor of the town of Lacanau (Gironde). “Since last summer there have been a few press articles reporting difficulties (...) in particular difficulties in intervening on the site. We therefore remained on standby,” he explained.

The city hosts a competition every year organized by the World Surf League (WSL) - the company which manages the professional circuit - and had applied to organize the Olympic surfing events, allocated in 2020 to the Teahupo'o site in Tahiti. . Three other territories in France, Biarritz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), La Torche (Finistère) and Landes (Hossegor, Capbreton and Seignosse) had also applied.

“If we are asked, we won't say no,” Stéphane Le Doaré, mayor of Pont-L'Abbé and president of the community of communes of Pays Bigouden Sud, in charge of the La Torche site, told AFP on Wednesday. .

“For the moment, we have not been asked but we are used to hosting competitions and installing temporary infrastructures (...) We have average waves in summer but surfable by everyone,” said - he estimated. “We need to know quickly, before the end of the year. Because that requires a minimum of management and organization,” warned the mayor.

Questioned by AFP, the Landes department did not wish to comment at this stage and Biarritz did not respond. At the end of 2019, the city of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques deplored the decision to organize the Olympics in Tahiti, “the choice of surf spectacle” according to it. During technical tests on Friday, a barge planned for the installation of a new judges' tower broke coral at Teahupo'o, pushing the Polynesian government to pause work necessary to host the events in July 2024 .

The International Surfing Federation (ISA) welcomed this decision, inviting organizers, Polynesian authorities and opponents of the project “to intensify discussions to examine all possible options”.

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