Paris 2024 Olympics: why the athletics track at the Stade de France will be purple and undoubtedly faster than that of the Tokyo Games ?

Paris 2024 Olympics: why the athletics track at the Stade de France will be purple and undoubtedly faster than that of the Tokyo Games ?

The Stade de France will be dressed all in purple during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Photo Paris 2024.

The athletics track for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be a unique purple, more "green” and will show all the colors to the spectators and viewers of the king sport of the Olympics, assures the Italian company Mondo which is putting the finishing touches to the covering which will be installed at the Stade de France next month.

The Frenchman Kevin Mayer, the Swede Armand Duplantis, the American Sha'Carri Richardson and other athletic stars probably don't know Alba, a peaceful town in Piedmont (northern Italy), surrounded by vineyards producing the famous Barolo.

This is where Mondo is located, a family business that has become a world reference in sports coverings and equipment, particularly in athletics. "Our Olympic history began in 1976 in Montreal (…) In Paris, it will be our 13th Olympic Games", relishes Maurizio Stroppiana, vice -president of the sports division of Mondo and son of one of the two founders.

Behind him, in a long and imposing production line, technicians supervise the manufacturing of the Mondotrack EB, the latest addition to the group which, from August 1 to 11, will be the track for 46 of the 48 athletics events of the Olympic Games of Paris 2024 (the marathons being contested entirely on the road in a round trip between Paris and Versailles).

Violet rather than ocher

And even those who discover the complex manufacturing process of an athletics track are struck by a particularity of the Mondotrack EB, its color! ;#39;ochre, or terracotta in the jargon of equipment manufacturers, traditionally used for athletics events, the Parisian organizers opted for purple, never before seen in Olympic history.

"Paris purple will only be used for these Games", assures Andrea Marenghi, the research and development manager, whose teams worked through dozens of samples to find "the right shades". There will in fact be two purples, one for the competition areas (track, jumps, throwing areas), the other darker for the so-called technical areas, finally completed by a gray reminiscent of it. the ashes of the 1924 Olympic Games.

"Our desire was to have an original color", assumes from Paris Alain Blondel, the manager athletics and para-athletics events within Paris 2024. "These two shades of purple allow for "maxi" contrasts when shooting TV images to highlight the athletes. Our approach is really that the athletes are at the forefront", adds the former decathlete.

"50% of ingredients are recycled or renewable"

While the future Parisian track with an area of ​​21,000 m2 (training stadium and warm-up area included) is conditioned in more imposing rollers with a width of 1.50 m to be shipped to Paris, Giorgio Lesage details the composition of the track, made of natural rubber, synthetic rubber, mineral compounds, pigments and additives. nbsp;

"Up to 50% of ingredients are recycled or renewable, saving original materials fossil. We were at a little over 30% for London 2012", notes the group’s sustainability and innovation manager. But even more than the purple top and the more "green" inside, it is the bottom of the Parisian track whose cost is kept secret, which could become a landmark.

Towards broken world records ?

"Compared to the Tokyo track, we have changed the design of the cells of the lower layer of the track (which rests on the asphalt ): this reduces the loss of energy for the athlete and gives it back to him at the best moment of his action", assures Maurizio Stroppiana.

In other words, the Stade de France track could be even more "fast" as that of Tokyo where three world records were broken in 2021 including that of the women's 400m hurdles by the American Sydney McLaughlin.

Mondo is very proud of the 300 world records that have been established on "her" tracks. "We can't do what we want, however, warns Andrea Marenghi. There are very strict criteria set out by the International Federation, because the most important thing is to preserve the health of the athlete and not to distort their actions". "Athletes perform better, he insists, the track gives nothing to the athlete that he is not capable of doing.

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