Mon, May 15, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Paris looks to woo Olympic leaders in 2024 Games bid

Bloomberg

A 2024 Olympic Games promotion covers the Tour Maine-Montparnasse skyscraper in Paris on Friday ahead of a visit by International Olympic Committee representatives yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Paris city leaders yesterday welcomed visitors who are to play a pivotal role in deciding whether the French capital will host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and other officials received a delegation of inspectors from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose assessment could prove critical should IOC members be asked to make a choice between Paris and Los Angeles, the other city still in the running.

IOC president Thomas Bach has asked a high-level group to investigate the possibility of awarding the 2024 and 2028 games to Paris and Los Angeles, respectively. A decision is due in July. The people running each bid say they are only focused on staging the 2024 event, though. In Paris’ case, the event would mark the centennial of its 1924 Olympics.

Tony Estanguet, a four-time Olympian and three-time gold medal winner for France in canoeing, who is cochairman of the Paris bid, repeated that view in an interview on Saturday.

He spoke shortly after the IOC delegation checked into the boutique Pullman Hotel a short distance from the Eiffel Tower, around which some events, including beach volleyball, triathlon and road cycling would be staged should Paris get the IOC’s nod.

“We continue to concentrate on 2024,” Estanguet said.

He said, though, that he understood Olympic authorities’ desire to explore awarding the next two games at the same time after rival bids pulled out following public criticism with the costs of hosting. Among the short-listed candidate cities that have withdrawn are Budapest, Rome and Hamburg.

Paris and Los Angeles, which inspectors visited last week, have similar proposed budgets for the Games at about US$6 billion, with the US city — which also held the Olympics in 1932 and 1984 — vowing that all costs are to be met by the private sector.

Last year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, were staged amid the nation’s biggest financial crisis in decades.

“There’s no risk at all to organize the games in the center of Paris, with 95 percent of existing venues being used,” Estanguet said.

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