Paris 2024 Olympic organizers published the first public, detailed version of the Games competition schedule. Opportunities abound for Katie Ledecky, Sydney McLaughlin and some of the world’s top swimmers and track and field athletes.
The full schedule is here. It was published on the eve of the two-years-out date from the Opening Ceremony, which will be the first of its kind along the Seine River.
As far as competition, this schedule (which is subject to change, consider what’s been published the latest version) was always going to be intriguing.
Start with swimming. It was previously announced that its schedule would extend from eight nights of finals to nine, leading many to wonder if the women’s 200m freestyle and 1500m free finals would be separated. In Tokyo, the first Games to include the women’s 1500m free, the finals were in the same session, creating a busy night for Katie Ledecky. She placed fifth in the 200m free (which she won in 2016) and won the 1500m.
For Paris, at least for now, the 1500m and 200m finals are two days apart. Ledecky, who dropped the 200m free from her world championships slate last month in part because it overlapped with the 1500m at that meet, said before worlds that she was undecided about the 200m free for 2024.
“It definitely would be more on the table if the schedule does open up a little bit more and creates a little more rest in there,” she said in June before taking gold in all four of her events at worlds.
If Ledecky qualifies for the 2024 Games in the same events as she did in Tokyo — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees, plus the 4x200m free relay — she could swim eight consecutive days in Paris, but never have to race twice in the same session.
July 27: 400m freestyle heat and final
July 28: 200m freestyle heat and semifinal
July 29: 200m freestyle final
July 30: 1500m freestyle heat
July 31: 1500m freestyle final
Aug. 1: 4x200m freestyle relay final
Aug. 2: 800m freestyle heat
Aug. 3: 800m freestyle final (12th anniversary of Ledecky’s first Olympic title in 800m free in London)
Her slate would culminate with the 800m free final on Saturday, Aug. 3, which could be the first of consecutive crown jewel days of the Games.
In the first Olympics with swimming, track and field and gymnastics finals on both days of the middle weekend, that Saturday’s finals also include the men’s 100m butterfly (Caeleb Dressel‘s trademark event), men’s shot put (where Ryan Crouser is the two-time reigning Olympic champion, world champion and world record holder), women’s 100m (possibly including Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah going for a third gold in the event) the end of the decathlon (where France’s biggest track and field star, Kevin Mayer, is reigning world champion and world record holder) and the first night of apparatus finals in gymnastics, which could include the return to action of the all-around gold medalists from earlier in the week.
An American won the last five Olympic women’s all-around titles. What’s more, 2016 champ Simone Biles has teased the idea of making a comeback as a specialist rather than an all-arounder, so if she returns, her individual target would be those apparatus finals that start Aug. 3.
In track and field, Sydney McLaughlin‘s coming decision on what event(s) she will focus on could be impacted by the 2024 Olympic schedule. McLaughlin, after shattering her 400m hurdles world record to win her first world title last week, said anything is possible moving forward, including shifting to the flat 400m, which her coach has said is in her future.
McLaughlin showed what was possible in the closing 4x400m relay at worlds on Sunday by clocking 47.91 seconds on her leg, the second-fastest split in the last 33 years, according to track statisticians.
In every previous Olympics since the women’s 400m hurdles debuted on the program in 1984, at least one round of the event was on the same day as a round of the flat women’s 400m.
In Paris, that will not be the case — in the traditional sense. A woman who advances from first round to semifinals to final of each event would have this schedule:
Aug. 4: 400m hurdles first round
Aug. 5: 400m first round
Aug. 6: 400m hurdles semifinal
Aug. 7: 400m semifinal
Aug. 8: 400m hurdles final
Aug. 9: 400m final
Aug. 10: 4x400m relay final
A caveat is that the Paris Games will introduce repechage rounds, an extra, second-chance round for athletes who do not advance from the first round to the semifinals. That’s something that McLaughlin and the rest of the world’s top athletes shouldn’t have to worry about.
All time, five women and 45 men have competed in both the 400m and 400m hurdles at the same Games, according to Bill Mallon of Olympedia.org. None of the women earned a medal in either event. American Harry Hillman won both events at the 1904 St. Louis Games, where the fields were small and largely American.
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