Team USA Is Bringing Its Own Air-Con to Paris

Olympic Village doesn't have traditional AC system
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2024 2:36 PM CDT
Updated Jun 29, 2024 1:20 PM CDT
Team USA Is Bringing Its Own Air-Con to Paris
The Olympic Village in Saint-Denis, north of Paris.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

The organizers of the Paris Olympics, keen to make it the "greenest ever Games," installed a geothermal cooling system instead of air-conditioning units in rooms at the Athletes Village. Officials say the system of water pipes will keep rooms at between 73 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit and fans will also be provided, NPR reports. Team USA, however, will be bringing its own air-con. "In our conversations with athletes, this was a very high priority and something that the athletes felt was a critical component in their performance capability," Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, confirmed on Friday.

Hirshland said Team USA has "great respect for the work that's been done by the Paris organizing committee in particular and their focus on sustainability," but "this is a period of time in which consistency and predictability is critical for Team USA's performance." The US is far from the only country planning to bring in portable air-con units for its athletes. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that it asked 20 of the largest competing nations whether they would be using portable ACs and all eight that responded, including the UK, Canada, and Italy, said yes.

  • Heat wave worries: The Games will run from July 26 to August 10, which is one of the hottest times of year in the area, reports USA Today. Researchers have warned that a heat wave is possible. On July 25, 2019, a new record was set when Paris temperatures rose above 108 degrees.

  • The cost:. Australian officials have said they plan to spend $100,000 to keep athletes cool, NPR reports. "We appreciate the concept of not having air conditioning due to the carbon footprint," Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll said last year. "But it is a high-performance Games. We're not going for a picnic." Poorer countries are less likely to bring their own AC, "meaning athletes in the same Olympic Village might be sleeping at different temperatures," the Post notes.
  • Not unusual in Paris: The AP reports that according to the International Energy Agency, fewer than 1 in 10 households in the European Union have air-conditioning, and the figure in Paris is even lower.
  • The future of the village: Georgina Grenon, the Paris 2024 director of environmental excellence, told the Post that the buildings were designed with their future as a neighborhood of 6,000 apartments in mind. Asked about countries bringing their own ACs, she said, "It's a pity."
(More 2024 Paris Olympics stories.)

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