The Olympic rings are mounted on the Eiffel Tower to mark 50 days until the Paris Games

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PARIS — The Eiffel Tower got a makeover in preparation for the Olympics.

The Olympic rings were mounted to the iconic Parisian landmark on Friday to mark 50 days until the sports world gathers in the French capital for the quadrennial sports festival.

The rings were displayed on the south side of the 135-year-old landmark in central Paris, overlooking the Seine River. Each ring is 9 meters (30 feet) in diameter and made of recycled French steel.

Thousands of athletes will parade through the city on boats on the Seine along a 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) route in the opening ceremony at sunset on July 26.

There will be no shortage of iconic venues at the Paris Olympics.

The tower, nicknamed La Dame de Fer (The Iron Lady), will feature prominently in the July 26-Aug. 11 Paris Games and the Paralympics.

Men's and women's beach volleyball will be played at the foot of the 330-meter (1,083-foot) monument. They will be watched by nearly 13,000 fans at the temporary Eiffel Tower Stadium on the nearby Champ de Mars, where Parisians and tourists like to have picnics on the grass or watch July 14 firework displays.

The Olympic and Paralympic medals in Paris are being embedded with pieces from a hexagonal chunk of iron taken from the tower.

The hugely popular landmark has seen soaring visitor numbers in the leadup to the Paris Games.

Two huge cranes were used to lift the 30-ton structure and mount it between the first and second floors of the tower.

The Olympic rings will be illuminated every night with 100,000 LED bulbs through the Paralympics, which start on Aug. 28, 17 days after the Olympic closing ceremony.

The Paralympics will bring together 4,400 athletes from 180 countries in 549 events and 22 sports. Many sports will take place near landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, Versailles and the Grand Palais.


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