World Athletics has announced plans to include a cross-country mixed relay event in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Cross-country hasn’t been featured in the Olympics for almost a century, and it was last included in the 1924 Olympics, which were also in Paris. If the Paris 2024 organizing committee and World Athletics can work out a plan for the mixed relay, cross-country will make its return to the Games 100 years since its last competition and in the same city.
The event would feature 15 countries, and each team would be made up of four runners (two men and two women). The race would be 20K, and the teams would alternate between male and female runners, with each athlete covering two laps of a 2.5K course.
The president of World Athletics Sebastian Coe has expressed his excitement for a potential Olympic cross-country event. “My love for athletics began with cross-country,’’ he said. “When I joined my first athletics club, Hallamshire Harriers, the club president was Joe Williams, who ran in the last Olympic cross-country race in Paris in 1924. It would be hugely symbolic for this wonderful athletic discipline to return to the fold after a century.”
As of July 26, the Paris Games are just four years away, and an additional running event would be welcome news for Olympic hopefuls around the world. World Athletics officials and Paris 2024 organizers will reportedly meet soon to discuss more details for the prospective relay.