Life as an Olympic athlete, or an aspiring one, goes in four year cycles.  

Everything is gauged in terms of the proximity to the next Olympic Games. 

Which is why the fact that the “One Year To Go” milestone for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games passing earlier this week is quite so discombobulating. 

The one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics means the traditional four-year gap between Olympics has been cut to three for the Paris Olympic cycle and so, last Wednesday, the milestone of one year to go until Paris 2024, arrived. 

It’s a significant mark not only for the athletes, though. 

These Olympic Games are particularly significant for the entire movement. 

The Olympic Games, while still indisputably magical, is currently firefighting left, right and centre. 

Olympic sport and Paris 2024 in particular are facing more than a few challenges, and they will combine to make next summer’s Olympics a particularly intriguing watch. 

Some of the challenges come within the sporting arena, others are outwith. But all are significant for a movement that is becoming increasingly tarnished. 

Over the coming year, there are several seismic issues that must be overcome if this Olympic Games is to be a success. 

On the bright side, it can only be better than Tokyo three years ago. 

The fact the 2020 Olympics took place in the depths of a global pandemic meant it was an entirely different entity to that of a typical Olympic Games. 

The complete absence of fans in the stadiums and arenas made it, by all accounts, a pretty soulless experience. So, on that front, Paris has an easy job in improving the Games. 

But in so many other ways, Paris 2024 has colossal obstacles to overcome. 

The first has little to do with the sport itself. 

France, and Paris specifically, has been the centre of serious and prolonged riots this summer following the shooting of a teenager at a traffic stop. 

These riots came hot on the heels of months of protests about France’s pension reform and while there may yet be a year until these Olympic Games kick-off, the feeling of general discontent within the country is far from ideal. 

And closer to the sport, there are perhaps even more pressing issues to be dealt with. 

As is the International Committee’s wont, corruption is already pushing its way into the conversation for Paris 2024. 

Last month, French police searched the headquarters of the organisers of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, with officials saying the raids were part of two preliminary corruption investigations. 

It was reported the police are looking into allegations of favouritism and misuse of public money in the attribution of construction contracts, which is an allegation that will come as no surprise to even the most casual of Olympic observers considering quite how often similar accusations have been bandied around other Olympic Games’, with arrests still being made of officials who were involved in the Tokyo 2020 Games for similar crimes. 

Another significant decision that must be made over the coming months is regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes. 

As is so typical of the IOC, its stance is wishy-washy. Earlier this month, the IOC revealed Russia and Belarus will not be invited to the 2024 Olympics amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, but athletes from the two countries will still be allowed to compete as independent Olympians under a neutral flag if their sports allow it. 

It’s the ultimate dodge; pass the buck onto the individual sports. 

Over the next year, it’s certain the IOC will come under increased pressure to take a more severe stance on the issue. 

And if they don’t, there will almost certainly be a shadow cast over Paris by the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes. 

What is also a worry, and will be difficult to rectify over the coming months, is the feeling of apathy many French citizens feel towards the Games. 

Most of this is down to the exorbitant ticket prices meaning that even if there was initial excitement at the Games landing in Paris, the realisation quickly dawned on many that seeing the sport in person would be close to impossible, such is the financial burden tickets will bear on the public. 

This is despite the French government insisting it will be the most inclusive Olympic Games ever. 

Tickets could not be bought individually; they could only be bought in packs, which had to include a minimum of three sports. 

The Opening Ceremony will take place along the banks of the Seine but the best viewing spots will be ticketed, costing as much as £2500. 

A recent survey found that support for the 2024 Olympics has plummeted recently within the French population with now, less than half supporting the event. 

And this is before we come to the issue of trans athletes. 

The question of the fairness of including trans women in female sport is exploding. 

But, again, the IOC is trying to avoid making a decision, instead shifting the burden onto the individual sports. 

Trans women can, says the IOC, compete in female sport. Unless, that is, their individual sporting governing body has ruled them out of doing so. 

So really, the IOC, instead of being the leader in what is a highly contentious issue, is doing what it does best, and that’s do everything it can to avoid an issue it doesn’t like. 

These issues, a year out from the Olympics, mean the road leading to Paris 2024 is going to be far from smooth. 

And there will, almost certainly, be further complications that arise before the Olympic flame arrives in Paris in just under a year’s time. 

The Olympic show will go on regardless; it always does. 

But how these issues are navigated will go quite some way in deciding just how great a success Paris 2024 will be.