COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — In one year, some of the greatest athletes in the world will be introduced across the Seine River for the opening ceremony of the 33rd Summer Olympic Games in Paris. The French capital last hosted the Olympics 100 years ago, and in the past century, almost everything about the games and the city has changed.
In 1924, just over 3,000 athletes converged in Paris to compete in 17 sports. Next summer, more than 10,000 athletes from 200 countries will come and compete in 32 sports.
With one year to go until NBC4’s coverage of the Paris Olympics gets underway, here are some things to know ahead of time including which athletes from Ohio to watch, the new sport debuting, the iconic French sporting venues, and much more.
Ohio athletes to watch
Abby Steiner (Track and field): The Dublin native has become a rising star in track & field after winning a national title and two world championship golds in 2022. Steiner will look to race individually in the 200 meters but could be part of the relay teams in Paris with legitimate gold medal chances. Her 2023 season was cut short after nationals due to an injury.
Rose Lavelle (Soccer): From Cincinnati, Lavelle is now a staple member of the U.S. women’s midfield. The 28-year-old scored for the U.S. in the 2019 World Cup final win and was part of the 2020 Olympic team that claimed bronze. She is with the women’s national team at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Hunter Armstrong (Swimming): Armstrong is from Dover and already is a decorated backstroke swimmer for Team USA. The former Buckeye won Olympic gold in Tokyo for the medley relay and won five world championship medals in 2022, two of them gold. He will be among the top contenders in the 100m backstroke and could feature on relay teams. On Tuesday, Armstrong claimed bronze in the 100m backstroke at worlds in Japan.
Adelaide Aquilla (Track and field): The 24-year-old shot putter will be looking to make her second Olympics representing Team USA and Ohio State. The Westlake native was in Tokyo and has multiple NCAA championships in the shot put.
Katie Moon (Track and field): Moon has a chance to make Olympic history in Paris as she looks to become just the second woman to win back-to-back pole vault gold medals. The 32-year-old from Lakewood and current world champion could join her sports’ greatest athlete, Yelena Isinbayeva, if she can defend her Tokyo gold in Paris.
Kyle Snyder and David Taylor (Wrestling): Former Buckeye Snyder is already one of the United States’ most decorated wrestlers and could extend his resume in Paris after winning gold in 2016 and silver in 2020. Taylor, from St. Paris, is the reigning freestyle champion in the 86kg division.
Aidan Morris (Soccer): The Columbus Crew midfielder is a strong candidate to feature on the men’s soccer team going to Paris, the first since 2008. Morris will be 22 by the time the Paris Olympics start, keeping him eligible for the under-23 squad required for men’s Olympic soccer teams.
Jason Day (Golf): The 35-year-old Australian living in Westerville could see his Olympic dreams finally come to fruition next summer. The one-time PGA Championship winner’s recent play could see him represent Australia in Paris. Day opted out of competing at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro due to Zika virus concerns.
Jordan Rzepka (Diving): The New Albany native will be looking to dive for Team USA after bursting onto the scene last year. The 21-year-old Purdue platform diver has won two national titles in platform diving.
Leverett siblings (Shooting): Buckeye twin brothers, Henry and Jack Leverett, could make their second Olympic team as pistol shooters while their sister Abbie, who also is at Ohio State as a pistol shooter, could join them as well.
U.S. team sports
Basketball: Once again, the U.S. will be heavily favored for gold with the men winning the last four times and the women the last seven. Paris will be the second time 3×3 basketball is featured as the women look to defend its gold from Tokyo and the men try to earn its first medal.
Soccer: 2024 will be the first time since 2008 Team USA will have both its men’s and women’s teams at the Olympics. The women’s recent World Cup dominance has not translated to the Olympics with its last gold coming in 2012. The men’s best performance was back in 1904 with a silver medal in St. Louis. Its most recent 2008 showing resulted in a group-stage elimination.
Rugby Sevens: The U.S. will have its women’s rugby sevens team in Paris as it looks to improve on its fifth (2016) and sixth (2020) place finishes at the last two Olympics. The men’s team could return to the Olympics after missing out in Tokyo.
Volleyball: Like basketball, volleyball is a second team sport that the United States could medal in all four disciplines. On the indoor side, the men will look to rebound after a disappointing showing in Tokyo while the women look to defend their gold medal and get on the podium for a fifth straight Olympics. On the beach, the men have three pairs climbing up the rankings while the women’s pair of Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes could enter Paris as favorites.
Women’s Water Polo: Team USA’s women’s water polo side has been utterly dominant with gold medals at the last three Olympic games. A fourth straight would make the USA women just the second water polo team to win at least four Olympic golds (Hungary men have won nine).
Notable top athletes
Katie Ledecky (Swimming): The 26-year-old is likely to compete in her fourth Olympics and will once again be a favorite to win multiple medals in the pool. Ledecky has 10 Olympic medals to her name, seven of them gold, and is likely to win her fourth straight gold in her most dominant event, the 800m freestyle. If Ledecky wins three more medals, she will eclipse Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres as the most decorated female swimmer in Olympic history.
Noah Lyles (Track and field): Lyles has cemented himself as the best 200m men’s sprinter in the world in the last four years. The two-time world champion has a chance to become the first American man to win the 200m since 2004 after finishing third in Tokyo.
Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone (Track and field): The 23-year-old from New Jersey might be the best female athlete on the planet and could be the best athlete representing Team USA in Paris. McLaughlin-Levrone won two golds in Tokyo and has broken world records at ease in the 400m hurdles. While likely to feature on relay teams, she could also venture to the 400m dash in addition to the hurdles.
Kylian Mbappe (Soccer): The French Olympics could see the country’s biggest superstar representing the hosts in its most popular sport. Mbappe is among the best soccer players on the planet and has spoken multiple times about his desire to participate at the games. Each men’s under-23 team allows for three players above that age. Mbappe will be 25 in 2024 and could captain the French team.
Novak Djokovic (Tennis): Tennis’ best will be at the Olympics again and all eyes will be fixed on Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in the men’s draw. The 23-time Grand Slam champion could become the third man to win the Golden Slam, joining Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal winning all four majors and an Olympic gold. At the site of the French Open, tennis will be at the forefront during the first week of the games.
Sunisa Lee (Gymnastics): 20-year-old Sunisa Lee will try to extend America’s dominance in the individual gymnastics all-around while simultaneously make Olympic history. The last five all-around golds have been won by five different American women and Lee could be the first to win back-to-back golds. She will also be at the center for the team competition and could be joined by Simone Biles as Team USA looks to snatch back the top spot.
Basketball stars: Once again, professional basketball players will be featured on all basketball rosters in Paris. The USA men’s team will consist of NBA superstars while the women will have the best of the WNBA. Notable players to watch out for include Iowa’s Caitlin Clark for the women and possibly the Olympic debut of Stephen Curry for the men.
Other notes: French basketball star Victor Wembanyama could feature at the games, which could make the hosts a threat to the USA men’s team. PGA and LPGA players should make up the golf fields in Paris. Road cycling could include Tour de France riders, who will finish the event in Nice just five days before the Opening Ceremony.
Notable Olympic venues
Stade de France: The national soccer stadium of France located just north of Paris will be the venue for all track & field events. It will also host rugby matches and the closing ceremonies. The stadium was built in 1998 and was the site of France’s World Cup win over Brazil that year.
Le Golf National: Olympic golfers will be in the Versailles zone and play at the notable Le Golf National course, which has an astounding 45 holes to play with multiple course possibilities. In Guyancourt, the course has hosted the European Tour’s Open de France since 1991 and was the home of the 2018 Ryder Cup.
Roland Garros: For the second time in the last four summer Olympics, the site of a Grand Slam tennis tournament will be the site of Olympic tennis. The clay courts of Roland Garros, used for the French Open every year, will be used for all five tennis tournaments and are the first clay courts to be used for an Olympics since 1992 in Barcelona.
Palace of Versailles: The former royal residence built by King Louis XIV is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the planet. Its 2,000-acre gardens will be the site for the equestrian competitions and multiple rounds of the modern pentathlon, an event that combines swimming, fencing, shooting, running, and equestrian jumping.
Soccer venues: France is home to one of the biggest soccer leagues in the world, Ligue 1, and multiple stadiums will be host venues for the Olympic soccer tournaments. Stadiums in Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, and more have recently hosted the UEFA European Championships in 2016 and the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Beach Volleyball at the Eiffel Tower: A temporary 12,000-seat stadium at the foot of the Eiffel Tower will be the home of beach volleyball matches in Paris. It will be one of the most picturesque scenes of the games.
Surfing in Tahiti: 2024 will be the second year surfing is part of the Olympic program and it will be happening more than 9,000 miles away from the French capital. Surfing will happen on the shores of French Polynesia at the commune of Tai’arapu-Ouest, which is part of the island of Tahiti.
Note: These will be the first summer Olympics in eight years with full-capacity crowds after the delayed Tokyo Olympics did not allow spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
New sport and new events
Of the 329 events at the 2024 Olympics, four of them will be new. The program does see a decrease compared to 2020 with baseball/softball and karate not returning for 2024. Sport climbing, which was introduced in 2020, will now have a speed event for men and women in addition to the combined events from Tokyo.
The other two new events will be in a new sport: Break dancing. Officially known as “Breaking”, its the first dancing-based sport to appear in the Summer Olympics and will have a men’s and women’s event. The sport was part of the 2018 Youth Olympics and will have dancers competing against each other with a DJ playing tracks in the background.
NBC4 Olympic schedule
The Paris games will offer the most live coverage and programming on NBC4 than any other Olympics before. With a six-hour time difference between the City of Light and Ohio’s capital, NBC4 will be showing at least nine hours of daytime coverage every day of the Olympics, including live finals coverage of swimming, gymnastics, track & field, and much more.
NBC4’s primetime Olympic coverage will consist of three hours of the best highlights of the day’s competition, stories, and more. More wall-to-wall coverage of the Olympics will be available on Peacock, and NBC Universal cable channels including USA Network, CNBC, and E!.
Olympic action will begin on July 24, 2024, two days before the Opening Ceremony, with archery preliminaries and the beginning of the handball, soccer, and rugby tournaments. NBC4’s live coverage will begin on July 26 with the one-of-a-kind Opening Ceremony.