AOC ‘confident’ as security ramps up for Paris Games

Roger Vaughan |

Security on and around the River Seine will be heightened for the Olympics opening ceremony.
Security on and around the River Seine will be heightened for the Olympics opening ceremony.

Security for the Paris Olympics opening ceremony will be so tight that even Australian embassy staff will need special passes to enter and leave their compound.

The embassy is walking distance from the River Seine, which will host the Games opening ceremony on July 26.

The river setting is a security nightmare and Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll said the immediate area will be locked down for the ceremony.

Matt Carroll
AOC boss Matt Carroll does not know how many Australian athletes will attend the opening ceremony. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

It will feature athletes being paraded on barges along the Seine, instead of the usual procession inside the main Olympic stadium.

“The French authorities are wrapping the opening ceremony, as you can only expect, in very heavy security,” Carroll told reporters on Wednesday.

“Security is very much about locking down an area around the river.”

The Australian team, which will number about 460, is still being selected and Carroll was unsure how many of them will take part in the opening ceremony.

Given the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, there will be plenty of geopolitical security issues for Paris Olympic organisers.

Carroll would not be drawn on whether the security situation ahead of Paris was greater than for previous Olympics.

He noted there were concerns about North Korea’s intentions ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

“We have confidence that the French and other nations are very much focused on it,” Carroll said.

“We have the Australian Federal Police (AFP) looking after us, the embassy has been connected with us.

“We’re very confident in the Australian government services provided to the Australian Olympic team.”

An AFP officer will be part of the Australian Olympic team staff during the Games.

Carroll said security was up to the French government and Paris Olympics organisers, with the Australian team operating under those arrangements.

He said the AOC had inspected all competition sites and would have extra security arrangements for when team members are staying off-site.

Carroll added at the latest Games security briefing in April, organisers said they had no specific terror threats.

On the weekend, French authorities announced they had arrested an 18-year-old suspected of plotting a terror attack on the Games.

Cybersecurity would be another issue before and during the Games.

Protests are also inevitable, but Carroll said during last year’s Rugby World Cup in France there were 52 days of competition, plus 31 days with protests, and the event was not disrupted.

Crime is another potential issue, with parts of Paris not recommended for tourists.

French authorities have promised a “zero delinquency” program to make the Games as safe as possible.