French President Emmanuel Macron launched the 500-day countdown to the 2024 Paris Olympics and Paralympics on Tuesday, bringing the public up to date with his government’s hopes for the Games, including the ambitious use of the Seine.

Macron addressed hundreds of officials at a “speech of thanks” in the Paris police headquarters, saying that though plans are advancing “nothing should be taken as a guarantee.”

“All that remains for us are 500 short days that separate us from the extraordinary events that are the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games, (where) we are going to host the world,” Macron said.

In the speech and on Twitter, Macron thanked the 45,000 volunteers mobilizing to make the Games “a success” and again trumpeted the 5,000 new sports grounds that are in the works. Officials are pushing to get infrastructure and sites ready in time, with projects pockmarking many of Paris’ boulevards.

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