Paris 2024 to feature Italian-made purple athletics track

The athletics track for the Paris Olympics will be built in Italy, in a striking purple colour, with a bespoke surface that could be the fastest yet for athletes seeking top prizes in the sport.

Italian company Mondo will be responsible for manufacturing and supplying the track, one of the highlights of this summer's Olympic Games in Paris. The Paris track will be a vibrant purple instead of the traditional terracotta, making it potentially the fastest yet for athletes seeking records and accolades in the sport.

Hailing from the town of Alba, a small town of just over 30,000 people in the southern Piedmont region of Italy, nestled among vineyards between the capital Turin and neighbouring Genoa, Mondo first produced the track for the 1976 Montreal Olympics almost half a century ago.

For the 13th Olympic Games in Paris, Mondo has developed the Mondotrack EB, which will host 46 of the 48 athletics events at the Stade de France. The biggest stars in athletics, such as reigning women's 100m world champion Sha'Carri Richardson, will compete for Olympic glory on this purple surface.

Athletes pose on the track after the women's heptathlon 800m at Tokyo 2020. GETTY IMAGES
Athletes pose on the track after the women's heptathlon 800m at Tokyo 2020. GETTY IMAGES

Mondo claims the track will offer better performance than the one used at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where three world records were broken, including the men's and women's 400m hurdles set by Karsten Warholm and Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone.

"We have changed the design of the cells in the lower layer of the track compared to what was used in Tokyo," said Maurizio Stroppiana, Vice President of Mondo's Sports Division and son of one of the two founding partners. "This reduces the loss of energy for the athletes and returns it at the best possible point in their movement," he added.

However, Andrea Marenghi, the company's head of research and development, makes it clear that Mondo cannot "do whatever we want". "There are very strict criteria set by the IOC because the most important thing is to protect the health of the athletes and not to compromise their technique. The athletes are more powerful than ever and the track doesn't give them anything they don't have," he said.

He confirmed that the two new colours, one for the competition areas and the other for the technical areas, would only be used for the Games. "We wanted to have an original colour. The two shades of purple will allow for maximum contrast when television pictures are taken, highlighting the athletes," said former decathlete Alain Blondel, head of athletics and para-athletics for Paris 2024.

The track will cover 21,000 square metres and, in addition to its eye-catching colour, it will also be "green" in terms of the environmental commitments made in its construction, using more natural components than ever before. Nearly 50 per cent will be made from renewable or recycled materials, significantly higher than the 30 per cent for London 2012, according to Giorgio Lesage, Mondo's director of sustainability and innovation.

Mondo will also supply all the necessary sports equipment for the athletics events that will take place in the French capital from 26 July 2024: from hurdles to mattresses, from high jump and pole vault stands to starting blocks and lane markings.