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The unveiling of the Olympic rings on the esplanade of Trocadero in front of the Eiffel tower after the official announcement of the attribution of the Olympic Games 2024 to the city of Paris. Credit - Getty Images—2017 Chesnot

No less an authority than Snoop Dogg has promised that the Paris Games, which start on July 26, are going to be “the most epic Olympics ever.”

Snoop is spot-on.

First of all, there’s the location: Paris, City of Light and Love, one of the most celebrated places on Earth, which will welcome some 10,500 athletes from all over the world. And for the first time in the history of the Summer Games, the opening ceremonies won’t happen in a stadium. Instead, athletes will cruise down the Seine, through the heart of the city, in a floating parade sure to be a visual spectacle.

Read More: Welcome to the Noah Lyles Olympics

Second, for the first time in six years, the Olympics are really back, baby! The last two Games—the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, in 2021, and the Beijing Winter Games of 2022—operated under strict COVID-19 protocols. Without international fans in the stands and streets, trading Olympic pins, and athletes unable to celebrate their accomplishments with their loved ones—or with each other in the Olympic Village, one of the world’s most famous party destinations—those Games lacked some luster. Athletes felt isolated, and the restrictions took their toll on everyone involved, even the media. With people from every continent gathered in one place, free to visit the Louvre and convene on the Champs-Élysées, obsessed with celebrated sports like swimming and track and field, or strange objects of quadrennial fascination—rhythmic gymnastics or modern pentathlon, anyone?— this year’s Olympics will be truly special.

And we haven’t even mentioned the athletic performances. Simone Biles is back, reaching new heights in gymnastics. Noah Lyles is attempting to succeed Usain Bolt as track and field’s global sensation. Katie Ledecky is making a mockery of aquatic competition.

Epic indeed. So for the first time, we’re launching an Olympics newsletter, the Olympics Brief, delivered to your inbox about three times a week. I’m TIME’s senior sports correspondent, and I’ll be on the ground in Paris covering my ninth Olympics. My colleague, Alice Park, is TIME’s senior health correspondent who also doubles as an Olympics expert, especially when it comes to butterflies and balance beams. She’ll be in Paris too, reporting on her eleventh Games.

We love this stuff. We’ll bring you a bit of everything in the Olympics Brief: behind-the-scenes sights and sounds you won’t find anywhere else, stories worth following, exclusive interviews and insights. And we’ll have plenty of fun, promise.

Who doesn’t need more joie de vivre these days? The U.S. presidential race heats up this summer, and it’s unlikely to be uplifting. The Olympics, blessedly between the conventions, offer a welcome respite, as rallying for U.S. athletes counts as a true, and all too rare, unifying exercise. We’ve got you covered in Paris. Join us for the ride—we’re getting started with our first send the week before the Games begin. Sign up for the Olympics Brief here.

Write to Sean Gregory at