Baguettes but no wine: Athletes to eat gourmet at 2024 Paris Olympics

Paris Olympic Rings

Some 15,000 athletes will get to feast on fresh baguettes, gourmet dishes and environment-friendly French cuisine — but no wine — when Paris hosts the Olympics next year.

The company tasked with serving 40,000 meals a day at the Olympic Village unveiled Tuesday some of the items on the menu of a sit-down restaurant that plans to serve food created by some of France’s most-renowned chefs.

Bringing a “fun, gourmet and healthy” touch to the plates is key to the job, said Alexandre Mazzia, whose AM restaurant in Marseille earned three Michelin guide stars. He presented a recipe made of crushed chickpeas with herbs and a smoked fish sauce.

Other chefs unveiled dishes that included an elaborate quinoa risotto and a chocolate mousse with raspberries.

“It’s a pride and an honor to be able to show French tradition and skills,” Mazzia told The Associated Press.

French food services company Sodexo was selected to oversee the catering at the athletes’ village and other sites of the Paris Games. The company was assigned the challenge of making the 2024 Olympics an occasion-appropriate opportunity to explore France’s legendary gastronomy.

“France will invite the world to its table,” said Philipp Würz, who is the catering manager for the Olympics organizing committee. Athletes “know they will eat well here. Our goal is to provide them with high quality food.”

The eatery at the Olympic Village, which is meant to be the “biggest restaurant in the world,” is expected to seat 3,500 people.

In addition, athletes will have access to “grab and go” food points, including one dedicated exclusively to French cuisine cooked up by chefs, Sodexo said.

“What I cooked here is poultry, guinea fowl slowly roasted with a nice crayfish jus, very reduced, very intense, with a ‘poulette’ sauce (white sauce), so it’s a kind of creamy, comfort food,” renowned chef Amandine Chaignot, who runs a Paris restaurant, explained.

“I wanted it to be a bit representative of what we do in France so it’s quite ‘gourmand,’” she said.

The Olympic Village also will feature a boulangerie producing French baguettes — recently given U.N. world heritage status — and other breads. Croissants and other pastries will also be available.

One exception will be made to the French way of life, though: No wine, or any form of alcohol, will be offered to Olympians in the village, organizers said. Champagne and liquors will be reserved for reception events.

Stéphane Chicheri, the chef for Sodexo’s venues and sporting events branch, said more than 500 menu items will be available to meet the needs of all sports, special diets, eating habits and religious beliefs.

Another challenge Paris 2024 organizers promised to meet is to make the Games more sustainable and environment-friendly.

In that regard, the main restaurant at the village will use only reusable serving dishes, according to Sodexo.

The company said all meals will be based on seasonal products, and plant-based food will represent one-third of the offerings at the Olympic Village.

All meat, milk products and eggs will be French-produced. Imported items, like bananas and rice, will all be organic or have fair trade certification, Sodexo said.

To avoid waste, goods not consumed will be given to food banks and associations. Food scraps will be turned into compost or used for biogas production, the company said.

Quality and diversity of food is important because athletes need to be reassured that they’ll find what they need to nourish their bodies, said Hélène Defrance, a competitive sailor who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics and now specializes in nutrition.

Still, organizers want the meals to be a convivial moment, in the pure French tradition.

“It’s not only the moment when we really feed our performances and get prepared for competition from a nutritional point of view,” Defrance said. “It’s also a moment when we regenerate and take a break, some time for exchanges, usually a pleasant moment.”

At his gastronomic restaurant in the southern city of Marseille, chef Mazzia is used to greeting many professional athletes, from kayakers and long-distance runners to judo practitioners and French and NBA basketball players.

“They are always surprised and happy with the moment they spent. I think I’ll meet some of them again during the Games, so that’s great,” he said.

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Iga Swiatek wins third French Open title, fourth Grand Slam, but this final was not easy


Iga Swiatek won her third French Open title and her fourth Grand Slam overall, pushed to a third set in a major final for the first time.

Swiatek, a 22-year-old Pole, outlasted unseeded Czech Karolina Muchova 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday at Roland Garros. Muchova tested Swiatek, the only singles player in the Open Era to win their first seven major final sets. She became the first player to take a set off Swiatek in the tournament.

Swiatek looked en route to another major final sweep, up 3-0 in the second set. She then committed 11 unforced errors (versus four winners) over the rest of the set as Muchova rallied back (with 10 winners versus 11 unforced errors).

Muchova then won the first eight points of the third set. Swiatek, under the most pressure of her career on the sport’s biggest stages, passed the test. The players exchanged breaks of serve, and Muchova had another break point for a chance to serve for the championship, but Swiatek fended her off.

“After so many ups and downs, I kind of stopped thinking about the score,” Swiatek said. “I wanted to use my intuition more because I knew that I can play a little bit better if I’m going to get a little bit more loosened up.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

No woman lower than the 14th seed has beaten both world Nos. 1 and 2 at a Grand Slam since the WTA rankings began in 1975. Muchova, ranked 43rd, nearly pulled it off.

“The feeling is a little bitter because I felt it was very close,” she said. “But overall, I mean, to call myself Grand Slam finalist, it’s amazing achievement.”

The French Open finishes Sunday with the men’s final. Novak Djokovic faces Casper Ruud, eyeing a 23rd major title to break his tie with Rafael Nadal for the men’s singles record. NBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock air live coverage at 9 a.m. ET.

Go back to the fall 2020 French Open. Swiatek, a 54th-ranked teen, won the tournament without dropping a set for her first tour-level title.

Since, she climbed to the top of the rankings (and has stayed there for 62 weeks running), tied the longest WTA win streak in 32 years (37 matches in a row in 2022) and won majors on clay and hard courts.

She beat challengers from different categories in major finals: a Slam champ (Sofia Kenin), a teen phenom (Coco Gauff), an emerged rival (Ons Jabeur) and now an unseeded (because of injuries)-but-dangerous veteran in Muchova. Swiatek is the youngest woman to reach four major titles since Serena Williams in 2002.

Yet this French Open began with talk of a Big Three in women’s tennis rather than singular dominance. Since last year’s French Open, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and Russian-born Kazakh Elena Rybakina both won their first major and beat Swiatek multiple times.

Swiatek faced neither in Paris but still called it “a pretty stressful tournament,” noting a right thing injury that forced her to retire during her last match before the tournament.

Sabalenka was stunned by Muchova in Thursday’s semifinals, the erratic serving and nerves of her past reappearing. Rybakina had to withdraw earlier in the tournament due to illness.

Next up: the grass court season and Wimbledon, where Swiatek hasn’t made it past the fourth round in three tries. She did win the 2018 junior title at the All England Club. but Sabalenka and Rybakina have had more recent success there.

If Swiatek can lift the Venus Rosewater Dish, she will be an Australian Open shy of a career Grand Slam. Her chances of adding an Olympic gold medal to that collection are very high, given Roland Garros hosts tennis at the 2024 Paris Games.

“I’m not setting these crazy records or goals for myself,” she said. “I know that keeping it cool is the best way to do it for me.”

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Novak Djokovic into French Open final with records at stake after beating Carlos Alcaraz


Novak Djokovic heads into Sunday’s French Open final with all sorts of history at stake after eliminating a cramping Carlos Alcaraz in a showdown semifinal.

Djokovic faces Casper Ruud, eyeing a 23rd major title to break his tie with Rafael Nadal for the men’s singles record. NBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock air live coverage at 9 a.m. ET.

On Friday, Djokovic took out the top seed Alcaraz 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, but the match was even when Alcaraz began showing signs of right leg cramping. The 20-year-old Spaniard attributed it to the “tension” of the match, saying he was nervous for his first time facing Djokovic at a major.

“I have never felt something like I did today,” he said, adding that it was full-body cramps. “If someone says that he get into the court with no nerves playing against Novak, he lies.”

Alcaraz stopped play at 1-all in the third set and had trouble walking. He forfeited the next game, stipulated by the rules for receiving medical treatment for severe muscle cramping when not at a change of ends or end of a set.

Djokovic then won the next nine games. Alcaraz played with limited mobility and without the charismatic magic that’s charmed the tennis world.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

“First and foremost, I have to say tough luck for Carlos. I feel for him. I feel sorry,” Djokovic said to begin an on-court interview. “I told him at the net he knows how young he is. He’s got plenty of time ahead of him, so he’s going to win this tournament, I’m sure, many, many times.”

Djokovic was told of Alcaraz’s reasoning for the cramps.

“I have experienced that several times,” he said. “Early in my career I was struggling quite a bit physically. I can understand the emotions and circumstances that affect you mentally and emotionally.”

The semi was billed as perhaps the greatest inter-generational match in men’s tennis history, the first time that Alcaraz played a member of the Big Three at a major.

Their 16-year age gap was the largest to take place for men this deep in a major since the 1991 U.S. Open (Jim Courier d. Jimmy Connors) and the largest age gap for any major match between Slam champs since 2006 Wimbledon (Rafael Nadal d. Andre Agassi).

Unlike Friday, most of the previous torch-passing meetings took place when one man was not yet at his peak or the other was past his prime.

Typically, the younger player wins these types of duels. Djokovic, by prevailing over a foe 16 years younger this late in a major, broke the Open Era men’s age gap record of 14-plus years set by Roger Federer, who beat Hyeon Chung at the 2018 Australian Open.

Now, Djokovic heads to Sunday’s final as an overwhelming favorite against the Norwegian Ruud, a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 winner over German Alexander Zverev in the later semifinal. Ruud was runner-up to Nadal at last year’s French Open and runner-up to Alcaraz at last year’s U.S. Open.

Djokovic can become the first man to win all four majors at least three times. He can break Nadal’s record as the oldest French Open singles champion.

“I’ve been very fortunate that most of the matches in tournaments I’ve played in the last few years, there is history on the line,” he said. “The motivation is very high, as you can imagine.”

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