More than three thousand Olympians are expected to bring portable air-conditioning units to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris this summer, derailing France’s efforts to go green by not providing AC in the Athletes’ Village, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The International Olympic Committee’s decision to substitute air-conditioning for a less reliable but more environmentally friendly geothermal cooling system is central to their strategy to cut the carbon footprint of the Paris Games by half, Reuters reported. However, many visiting nations, concerned lack of AC will result in reduced sleep and poor athletic performance, are opting to import portable AC units, according to the Washington Post.


“We will bring them. And we will take them back to Greece,” Alexandra Palli, president of the Greek Olympic committee for environmental sustainability, told the Washington Post when referencing Greece’s plans to provide portable air conditioning to their athletes. “They need support. Because what they do is very difficult anyway.”

While the scale of portable-AC-adoption is unclear, a survey from the Washington Post found that all eight nations who replied out of the 20 surveyed planned to use AC in some capacity. Those nations include the majority of the G7, specifically the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, and Italy.

The high cost of portable units could mean they are inaccessible to poorer countries.

“We don’t have deep pockets,” said Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) president Donald Rukare, before citing a prior international sports competition in which the UOC was unable to provide their athletes with portable units “because we didn’t have the money.”

Ultimately this disparity raises questions over Olympic fairness as air conditioning is seen as crucial to athletic performance, particularly in sports like fencing where an athlete’s equipment can rust or be damaged by humid conditions, The Washington Post reported.

The 2024 Summer Olympics begin July 26 and are expected to attract 15 million tourists to the French capital.

The IOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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