IN SHORT

Structure: Track and field stadium

Total surface area of the track: 11,000 m2

Capacity: 19,094 spectators

Arquitectura Deportiva
(France)

LOCATED IN PARIS IN THE XIII ARRONDISSEMENT, the Charléty Stadium is the second largest stadium in the capital.

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Despite the fact that it is primarily dedicated to athletics, the stadium has hosted - and continues to host - competitions of all kinds, such as the DécaNation in 2000, the European Athletics Cup in 1999 and the Paris Diamond League, which takes place at the Charléty every year. Not forgetting that Paris FC - its home team - regularly plays friendly matches at the stadium. There is no doubt, however, that athletics is the discipline that truly allows the Charléty Stadium to shine, and that this is the sport that has brought it so many world records. Ahead of the European Athletics Championships 2020 - an event that has unfortunately now been cancelled - the stadium underwent a major renovation in 2019, with the installation of a new MONDO track and a modernisation of its facilities.

A history of modernisation

The history of the Charléty Stadium is a little complicated. Built in 1939 at the request of a university rector, it was originally intended as a training centre for the Paris Université Club.

In 1989 it was knocked down, and then rebuilt between 1991 and 1994 by two architects: Henri and Bruno Goudin. Their goal was to transform the stadium into a multi-purpose facility, creating athletics track in addition to both football and rugby pitches. The architects also equipped it with a multi-functional hall, several gyms and tennis and squash courts.

Located near the offices of the French Athletics Federation and the French National Olympic and Sports Committee, the Charléty Stadium has become the hub of the athletics world.

Indeed, before the 2019 edition of the Diamond League, several renovations were commenced, including the installation of a new MONDO Sportflex Super X 720 track. This work should have proceeded with the modernisation of the facilities ahead of the start of the European Athletics Championships in Paris 2020.

The new MONDO track

At the Charléty Stadium, MONDO has installed a Sportflex Super X 720 track with a surface area of 11,000 m2. In accordance with IAAF (World Athletics) performance criteria, this prefabricated track represents the perfect combination of shock absorption, vertical deformation and energy return. The rubber upper layer delivers unparalleled levels of elasticity, along with high resistance to wear and tear caused by track spikes. However, it is the geometrically-constructed hexagonal air cell backing that makes the system so special, providing excellent cushioning and energy storage and return.

In addition, the track has been designed with absolute respect for the environment. A photovoltaic plant enables the MONDO factory in Gallo d'Alba (Italy) to slash carbon dioxide production by 2,000 tonnes. Furthermore, the flooring itself consists of 38% recycled raw materials and 10% rapidly renewable materials.

An all-round excellent track, then, both in terms of the level of performance it offers and about its environmental impact.

The big day

The 2020 calendar for the Charléty Stadium was set to be full of exciting events, as we hope it will be in 2021.

On 13 June, the stadium was scheduled to host the Diamond League for nine of the twelve races planned on this track and field circuit. The nine races would have been the 100 metres and the 110 metres men's hurdles, the men's 800 metres, the women's 800 metres, the women's 3,000 metres, the men's high jump and pole vault and the women's shot put and javelin throw.

Meanwhile, between 26 and 30 August 2020, the athletes competing in the European Athletics Championships were set to take to the track. However, as is traditional in this competition, some of the races were scheduled to take place outside the stadium: the venue for the long jump qualifications (both men's and women's) and the award ceremonies was set to be the Trocadéro, opposite the Eiffel Tower.

At the Meeting de Paris held in August 2019, the athletes nonetheless had the privilege of inaugurating the brand-new track. "I'm delighted to be making my début here, it's a beautiful city," said Yulimar Rojas, the triple-jump champion from Venezuela, having arrived in Paris for the first time.

"After the Pan American Games, where I jumped 15.11 metres, my goal is to do better with every attempt. I'm looking forward to it, just like Lima, above all because I know there'll be a fantastic crowd in a great stadium." A Sportflex Super X 720 track was also installed at the Lima Stadium, where Rojas took first place. "[The track] gives the athlete just the right degree of return, and it's fast too, just the way I like it," said Karsten Warholm, the Norwegian competing in the 400 metre hurdles.

And indeed, the track appears to have lived up to the praise: the Nordic athlete nearly broke his European record, finishing the race in 47''26. Yulimar Rojas achieved similar success, completing a triple jump of 15.05 metres, her second world-level performance of the season. American triple jump champion Will Claye also sent the stadium wild with a jump of 18.06 metres. Meanwhile, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde finished 5th in the 110 metre hurdles with a time of 13''24, his best of the season. "The track is brand new, and it's a real honour for us to inaugurate it," he said. The athlete gave the thumbs up to the surface, which enables athletes to reach peak speeds.

The first users of the track were won over, and the next races were looking promising. With the new Sportflex Super X 720 track, the Charléty Stadium proves that it still has a lot to offer to professional athletes from all over the world, even though currently, like all of us, it must wait.

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