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2024 Paris Olympics: A Guide for Australian Sports Fans

After several rejections, Paris is finally getting its chance to host the Olympics. Rolling Stone AU/NZ selects 5 music-watch sports.


Fabrice COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

It’s been a strange road to Paris, the host for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

The City of Love was left unloved on three separate occasions over the past quarter century, on each occasion the IOC overlooking Paris’ expensive Olympic bids, including the Games won by rival London in 2012.

How many rejections can a place take? Three is the magic number.

The capital of the French-speaking world has hosted the Olympics on two previous occasions, albeit in another lifetime. The first, in 1900, following the first Modern Games Olympics in Athens, Greece, when live pigeons were used for the shooting competition (Belgium’s Leon de Lunden killed 21 birds en route to gold). And again, in 1924, just six years after the end of WWI and less than a decade before the Nazis would sweep into power in Germany.

When the starter’s gun fires on 27th July, just three years after the Tokyo Games (delayed by a year, and playing out to empty venues on account of the pandemic), France will get another chance to flex its muscles on the global stage.

The Olympics might not exist were it not for the vision of a Frenchman — Pierre de Coubertin, co-founder of the International Olympic Committee and its second president.

When the 2024 Olympic Games open, no pigeons will be harmed. But expect records to be broken, tears to be shed and memories made.

Rolling Stone AU/NZ identifies five must-watch competitions.


Australians love the water. The pool typically soaks up the nation’s attention in the first week of the Olympics, and produces roughly half our medals count. The world’s biggest island is home to some of the finest to slip into Speedos, including Ian Thorpe, Shane Gould, Dawn Fraser, Kieren Perkins, Grant Hackett and the late Murray Rose.

The rivalry between the United States and Australia is an unequal one, and almost always in the favor of the U.S. Tell that to Emma and Kaylee McKeown, rising star Mollie O’Callaghan, backstroke champ Zac Stubblety-Cook, and Ariarne Titmus, who lead the Dolphins’ charge. Arnie, a racing machine, lowered the world mark in the 200m freestyle at the national trials in June, scrubbing the record set the previous year by O’Callaghan.

The Dolphins got Australia’s Tokyo campaign away to a roaring start. By the time of the closing ceremony, the national team had tallied 17 gold, equalling Athens in 2004 for the most glittering of campaigns. Nine of those Tokyo golds were captured in the pool.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 16: during the Boomers vs The World match between Australia and Brazil at Rod Laver Arena on August 16, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns Photography)


The Boomers finally ditched the curse of fourth place when, in 2021, the national men’s basketball team whacked Luka Doncic and Slovenia in the bronze medal match. Veteran guard Patty Mills, the hero on that occasion and a flag bearer at the opening ceremony, is three years older, but still capable of catching fire. Matisse Tybulle, the NBA-contracted defensive specialist who was tasked with limiting the magic of Luka in that thrilling game, won’t be in France. A poor finish at the 2023 World Cup still lingers. Will the team bounce out early in its “Group of Death?” Watch and find out.

The Opals are a perennial powerhouse, and with the extraordinary return of Lauren Jackson for her fifth Olympics (and first in 12 years), anything is possible. Any team that boasts the 6’5″ legend, perhaps the greatest to play with a size 6, has a decent chance to run deep in a tournament. Team USA, stacked with NBA and WNBA talent, will enter both tourneys as favourites.

Track and field

Australia will send 75 athletes to compete in track and field competition, its largest-ever contingent for an overseas Olympics, and second only to the team that competed in Sydney 2000. If form is a good gauge, several athletes could collect hardware. The team accumulated six medals at last year’s World Championships and three from the Tokyo Games. Pole vaulter Nina Kennedy, who shared the world title with American Katie Moon in 2023, and Tokyo high jump silver medallist Nicola Olyslagers are in the mix. Jess Hull recently recorded the fifth fastest time in history in the 1,500m at the Paris Diamond League, finishing second behind Kenyan Faith Kipyegon. And despite not being at his best, sprinter Rohan Browning has secured a place in the 100m, athletics’ blue riband event.


The 2024 Olympics program will include five new disciplines including skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, and 3×3 basketball. It’s the debut of breaking — yes, breaking dancing – that appears set for take off. Breaking made its move at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, and was chosen for Paris 2024, but won’t return for Los Angeles in 2028. 16 men (“B-Boys”) and 16 women (“B-Girls”) will compete, with a round robin followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and the medals round. Each battle features a best-of-three one-on-one contest of approximately one minute. Australia will be repped by Raygun and J-Attack.

Matildas v England Women's World Cup

Caitlin Foord scores to give Australia a first-half 1-0 lead over Denmark. Photo credit: Brendon Thorne via Getty Images


Football — the roundball variety — has an unusual relationship with the Olympics. The men’s competition is essentially an under 23-tournment with each team allowed to select three senior players, a compromise created to ensure the FIFA World Cup is the leading football tournament on this planet. Never mind that Team GB doesn’t even field a team, which would unite England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There are no such barriers placed on the women’s competition.

After capturing the hearts of a nation with their final-four appearance on home soil in the 2023 World Cup, The Matildas will enter the Olympics hopeful of keeping the good times going, with a squad including Hayley Raso, Mary Fowler, Ellie Carpenter, Mackenzie Arnold, Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley. It won’t be easy; the team will be without injured superstar Sam Kerr, and its group includes heavyweights Germany and the United States.

The Paris Olympic Games run 26th July to 11th August, followed by the Paralympic Games: 28th August to 8th September.

The competition will air on the Nine Network and on-demand across its 9Now streaming platform. Stan Sport will also broadcast all 329 Olympic events across 32 sports, ad-free.