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“It’s a waking dream,” confides the director of the Eaubonne sports center, in Val-d’Oise, which will host Team USA

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It is in Eaubonne, a town of 25,000 inhabitants in Val-d’Oise, that Team USA will establish its headquarters for the Olympic Games. Guided tour of the future training center.

Published on 05/12/2023 12:34

Reading time: 2 min The interior of one of the CDFAS Eaubonne gymnasiums, ready to welcome Team USA. (CLARA LECOQ-REALE / RADIO FRANCE)

A light countdown displays 215 days on the CDFAS building in Eaubonne, the departmental training and sports activities center for Val-d’Oise. But a further calculation, we realize that there are still 233 days before the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. “It’s the countdown to the arrival of the Americans”explains Arnaud Zumaglia, the director of the center. “They will arrive around July 7-8”or around twenty days before the Games.

Because it is Eaubonne, and this CDFAS, that the American delegation chose to establish its training camp. “It’s a waking dream”confides the director.

“Apart from the French team, it remains the best team we could welcome.”

Arnaud Zumaglia, director of CDFAS Eaubonne

at franceinfo

Team USA has privatized the center for the summer. In total, a thousand people, athletes and staff, will set up camp in this town of 25,000 inhabitants in Val-d’Oise.

24 tons of ice cubes

Arnaud Zumaglia and his teams therefore have seven months left to renovate the twenty hectares of the center. Football fields, athletics track, gymnasiums… The excavators are busy, because the site is partly under construction. And he is very closely monitored. “Any incident before the arrival of the Americans could compromise their arrival. Everything is padlocked”he explains.

The interior of one of the CDFAS gymnasiums, still under construction. (CLARA LECOCQ-REALE / RADIO FRANCE)

The director regularly inspects the infrastructure, and also anticipates the services that will be deployed there. Because with Team USA, the devil is in the details. “The Americans consume a lot of ice cubes. We need 24 tonnes of ice cubes over the period, it’s colossal! And we also learned that there are all types of ice cubes: the flake ice cube, the hollow ice cube, the full ice cube and each type of ice cube requires a particular quantity”details Arnaud Zumaglia, who explains that they are used in particular for the recovery of athletes.

Besides ice cubes, the American team wants French-style cuisine, but not veal blanquette… In short, the list is long, but it at least has the merit of being perfectly clear. “Either you are capable of giving them what they want and that’s great, you are part of the adventure. Or you are not capable and that does not matter, they take the keys and they do your place”summarizes the director of the center.

Employees asked to learn English

So to chat, you might as well have your hands free and know how to speak English. CDFAS employees are urged to get started. “Someone who doesn’t speak any English potentially has around fifty standard sentences that they have to memorize. This is the minimum basis that allows us to welcome”believes Arnaud Zumaglia.

Two American representatives are visiting for several days. The objective is to “work out a few details with us. I think that every month, we will have someone”, he said. The renovations cost the communities 27 million euros, mainly the Val-d’Oise department, which wants the center to take on a global dimension after the Games. The amount of the contract with the American team remains confidential.

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