PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron promised to swim in the Seine River after it is cleaned up for the Paris Olympics as he made an inspection Thursday of the village that will house athletes during the games.

Macron highlighted the reduction of pollution levels in the Seine as one of the long-term positive legacies the Games will leave behind. He mentioned the “extraordinary” public investment to bring the river – in which no one has been bathing since 1923 – to salubrious conditions for swimming again.

When asked by a journalist if he would swim in it, Macron replied: “I, yes, I’ll jump in”.

But he declined to give a precise date.

“I will not give you a date: there is the risk that you will be there,” he said.

Regardless of whether or not he swims, Macron’s visit to the future Olympic Village served to show how the Paris 2024 Games are transforming the poor suburban areas of the French capital.

Environmentally friendly, the Village has created 2,000 jobs, with 1,136 for local residents. It cost around €2 billion ($2.2 billion), mostly from real estate investors, but €646 million ($700 million) was also injected.

Construction company Solideo transferred the villa to Paris organizers on Thursday, with the symbolic handing over of a key in the presence of Macron.

“It’s a great day,” Macron said. “It’s a demonstration that France is a nation of builders.”

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