The controversy continues over the 2024 Paris Olympics set to take place in Tahiti at Teahupo'o.
Organizers are refusing to relocate the surf competition from Teahupo'o to Taharuu Beach after French Polynesia's president, Moetai Brotherson, suggested the move. Brotherson was responding to residents' outrage over the Olympics' plan to construct a huge aluminum judging tower on Teahupo'o's coral reef.
The issue got heated in October when Tahitians peacefully protested the tower and launched a petition that's since gained over 150,000 signatures. They say the tower will damage the reef, the ecosystem, and possibly the wave itself.
At first, Tahitians asked the Olympics to use the existing wooden judging tower the WSL has used for years instead of constructing a new one.
Then Tahitian pro surfer Matahi Drollet–who's been super vocal about the issue–called for Brotherson to get involved.
And he did, suggesting the games be moved to Taharuu Beach on Tahiti’s west coast.
“That would have enabled us to avoid the problems we have today. At the time, it wasn’t possible. In view of the issues at stake and the protests today, perhaps we can revise this option,” Brotherson was quoted as saying by French media at the Pacific Islands Forum.
However, in the Reuters story above, Olympics organizers said the contest will remain at Teahupo'o.
The statement continued:
"As our president, Tony Estanguet, recently pointed out, our priority today is to find a solution that will enable us to organise the surfing events of the Olympic Games in Tahiti, at the Teahupo'o site, in the best possible conditions."
"Tahiti was chosen because of the Teahupo'o site and its legendary wave, one of the most beautiful in the world.
"Discussions and studies will continue over the coming weeks to find a solution for organising the events on the Teahupo'o site. Along with all the stakeholders, and the Polynesian government in particular, Paris 2024 will continue to listen to all possible solutions to further improve the project. Dialogue and work will continue with environmental associations and local residents."
The International Surfing Association is in charge of the Olympic surfing competition and hasn't commented.
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