Tahiti has moved a step closer to hosting surfing competitions at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris after French organisers approved the South Pacific island as the venue for the events.
The Paris 2024 Executive Board chose Tahiti, located 15,700 kilometres from the French capital, ahead of four other bidders to stage surfing at the Olympic Games in less than five years' time.
It would be the furthest distance between two Olympic competitions being held as part of the same Games in the history of the event, should the proposal be accepted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruling Executive Board.
Biarritz Pays Basque, Lacanau-Bordeaux Métropole, La Torche and Hossegor-Seignosse-Capbreton also submitted a bid to host surfing at the Games.
In a statement, Paris 2024 claimed Tahiti "particularly stood out because of the exceptional competition conditions it offers athletes".
Surfing at Paris 2024 could take place on the Teahupo’o wave, world renowned for its conditions and surf, if the proposal from organisers, which has the support of the International Surfing Association (ISA), is rubber-stamped by the IOC Executive Board.
Temporary modular houses would form the Athletes' Village for surfers competing in Tahiti - a 23-hour flight from Paris - if the plan is given the green light.
Paris 2024 revealed these would be dismantled after the competition and rebuilt in Tahiti and the islands as social housing.
L'une des plus belles vagues au monde pour des Jeux spectaculaires! Paris 2024 choisit la vague de Teahupo'o à Tahiti pour accueillir l'épreuve de Surf ! Prochaine étape : validation du CIO. #EnRoutepourParis2024 pic.twitter.com/savLeWgmTi— Paris 2024 (@Paris2024) December 12, 2019
Today's decision was widely expected after the South Pacific island emerged as the leading contender prior to the IOC Executive Board's meeting in Lausanne last week.
IOC President Thomas Bach seemed to cast doubt on the possibility of surfing at Paris 2024 taking place in Tahiti, however, when he claimed the organisation preferred a venue "closest to the centre of the Games" earlier this year.
But Paris 2024 claim Tahiti - the largest island in French Polynesia, described by organisers as "one of the cradles of surfing" - hosting an Olympic event will "showcase the wealth and diversity of France and its culture to be found outside the continent".
"It will allow Paris 2024 to resonate all the way to the heart of the Pacific Ocean and organise sporting and popular celebrations day and night during the Games," the Organising Committee added.
Paris 2024 also praised the "optimal sporting conditions that are both fair and selective" in Tahiti, which organisers claim is "better situated to guarantee" competitive and challenging waves for athletes.
Surfing at the 2024 Games would be held in the middle of Tahiti’s high surf season and would ensure the Olympic competition takes place over a single week.
All 48 surfers would have the opportunity to spend the second week of the Games in the Olympic Village in Paris and participate in the Closing Ceremony.
"Ultimately, our commitment is to the athletes and the sport and we have no doubt that Teahupo’o will offer an amazing platform for the world's best athletes to shine," said ISA President Fernando Aguerre.
"I'm totally convinced we can stage a fantastic Olympic Surfing event in Tahiti that builds on the success and legacy of our debut at Tokyo 2020, inspires the world and continues to celebrate our sport's unique value and culture on a global stage."
Paris 2024 also confirmed a 35,000-seater stadium will be constructed at Place de la Concorde.
The exact list of sports and events to be held at the new venue in the heart of the city has not been revealed, but speculation surfaced last month that it would play host to as many as five urban sports or disciplines, including sport climbing, breakdancing and skateboarding.