Welcome to the 2024 Paris Olympics


Malia Obama: Good morning and welcome to CNN’s live coverage of the opening ceremony of the Games of the 23rd Olympiad.

Lena Dunham: It’s good to be here with you, reporting live from Paris.

Malia: Many are slightly disappointed that the City of Light didn’t quite put on a pre-games show as expected, with only 534 cars torched least night, which is about 20 per cent down on the seasonal average.

Lena: The French officials tell me there is still plenty of time to make up for this slow start. Of course, speaking of France, as many of our viewers will be aware, these Olympic games the host country will for the first time be represented by two national teams, the Believers and the Infidels.

Malia: That’s correct, Lena. It will be interesting to see which team marches first in just a few minutes’ time. The official procession of national team at the Le Pen Memorial Stadium will represent another Olympic first, with the organisers ditching the traditional alphabetical order. Countries will march in accordance with their ranking in the United Nations Oppression Index, which I believe was the long-overdue initiative by the Secretary-General Kevin Rudd.

Lena: Yes, the Australian Kevin Rudd was only the second Secretary-General of the United Nations to die while in office, after Dag Hammarskjold in 1961, having perished in a suicide bombing carried out by the chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Julia Gillard.

Malia: A tragic event, indeed, Lena. Yes, the UN’s Oppression Index ranks countries according to their GDP per person, the potential climate change impact, and the geographic proximity to either the United States or Israel. The national teams will appear in the order from the most oppressed to the United States and Israel.

Lena: One of the big surprises, Malia, which has had Twitter abuzz for the past few days is whether the Caliphate team will insist on marching separately, ahead of the procession, having previously indicated its unwillingness to be sandwiched between unbelievers and apostates.

Malia: I’m told their costumes are to die for. As they say, this season black is the new black.

Lena: I will just interrupt you here for a second, Malia. The results of our online poll are in, and 67 per cent of our viewers are happy with the new Olympic symbol of seven rings, and further 15 per cent think that the International Olympic Committee has not gone far enough.

Malia: Indeed; our viewers will recall the IOC’s decision last year, prompted by the protests from South America and Antarctica that there are actually seven continents, not five. Coincidentally, this allowed the Committee to kill two birds with one stone-

Lena: If you excuse the violent phrase-

Malia: Thank you, Lena, if you excuse the violent phrase – and recolour the rings in the colours of the rainbow. Initially a controversial decision, as it meant the elimination of the black ring, prompting a very popular Twitter #BlackRingsMatter hashtag campaign.

Lena: The Paris Olympics is full of historic firsts, Malia. The organisers are still confident that their decision to eliminate war-like weaponised sports like shooting, archery and fencing was the right one, particularly as it frees up time, much needed since all other disciplines are now open in categories of men’s, women’s and other’s. A much overdue recognition there that gender is not a binary concept.

Malia: That’s right, though the abolishing of gold, silver and other privileged metals medals, and the decision that everyone gets a medal, will sadly have to wait until the 2028 Portland games.

Lena: As will, unfortunately, the renaming of the inherently sexist breaststroke swimming events.

Malia: Aaaaaaand let me interrupt you there Lena, as the opening ceremony is now commencing, with the appearance of the giant Paris 2024 mascot, France’s famous icon, Marianne, or Liberty, dressed in an exquisite Coco Chanel-designed burqa.