Carl Lewis unveils first-of-its-kind Purple track for Paris 2024 Olympic games. @Paris2024

The athletics track at the Stade de France is now ready for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, which will be held from 26 July to 11 August. Uniquely, the track is purple rather than the traditional red. It was officially unveiled by American Carl Lewis, who won nine golds and one silver medal in the sprint and long jump. 

The track was designed by the Italian company Mondo, which specialises in the production of sports surfaces. It is made of rubber, covers an area of around 17,000 square metres and has been extended from eight to nine lanes. Fifty percent of the materials used are renewable and non-fossil, reducing the environmental impact. With a focus on performance and sustainability, the track is expected to be very fast, and several records could be broken.

A recent social media post by Paris 2024 showed a sneak peek of the purple track for this summer's Games with the caption: “Who else than Carl Lewis to test our purple track 💜. The Stade de France is more than ready for the Athletics event this summer. Be ready, this track will be faaaast ⚡.”

Lewis, better known as the 'Son of the Wind', one of the most dominant athletes in history, is pictured in a suit and shoes in the starting position of a middle distance race on the track. From 1 to 11 August, the track will host 46 of the 48 athletics events of the 2024 Olympic Games. The marathons will be held entirely on the road, on a circuit between Paris and Versailles. 

Tony Estanguet, President of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, explained during the presentation of the Olympic sports pictograms that the idea was to create a "joyful and festive" tone. Violet will also be used in other venues, alongside pink, red (like Tokyo 2020) and blue (like Rio 2016). 

The track, which was designed at the request of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, will feature three colours: two shades of purple (one lighter, closer to lavender, and the other darker) and grey on the outside of the track. 

The purple athletics track does not guarantee records, but the adjustments made by the manufacturer seem promising, said Alain Blondel, Paris 2024's athletics sports manager.

The track is being supplied for the 13th consecutive Olympic Games by Mondo. Three hundred world records have been broken on the Italian company's athletics tracks since 1972 and it is hoped that many more will be broken at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It has been 52 years since the athletics surface and equipment specialist celebrated its first world record, in the men's 4x200m relay in Barletta, Italy, where the home team of Pietro Mennea, Franco Ossola, Luigi Benedetti and Pasqualino Abeti made history with a time of 1:21.50. Another 299 world records have since been set on Mondo's tracks. 

"It's the same track, the same base as in Tokyo (where the last Summer Olympics were held), with small changes," said Blondel, adding that he "couldn't say" if the track would be fast. "But the early indications are that in many ways it will be a very, very good track." 

Three athletics world records were set at the Tokyo Games - postponed by a year to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic - in the women's and men's 400m hurdles and the women's triple jump by Sydney McLaughlin (USA), Karsten Warholm (Norway) and Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela) respectively. Similarly iconic performances are expected at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. One that immediately comes to mind is Noah Lyles' attempt to break Usain Bolt's 100m and 200m records.

"We really liked the purple as it allowed us to get away from the usual colours," said Blondel, a former European decathlon champion. The track, which involves the manual layering of more than 1,000 rolls of material, is due to be completed by 1 June. The Games will open on 26 July.