Reporting From SwissTech Convention Center in Lausanne, Switzerland – A delegation for Paris’ bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games took the stage at a Technical Presentation to International Olympic Committee (IOC) members in Lausanne Tuesday, but it was French President Emmanuel Macron who took centre stage.
Focus was on the popular, recently elected President – overshadowing the bid at times – and it was Macron who fielded many of the questions asked by IOC members following the presentation and by the media at a later press conference.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has been the key figure behind the bid for nearly two years and seemed relegated to the background during meetings on Monday and Tuesday that represent key milestones in the bid.
“My presence is only a positive signal,” Macron said.
Macron spoke to the media about the bids strengths, it’s focus on 2024 instead of 2028, security issues, the French economy – and at one point the policies in which he is in agreement with U.S. President Donald Trump.
“We agree on the fight against terrorism and the crisis in Syria and Libya, and other matters,” Macron said on the topic before getting back to the bid.
But it was clear, as it was Monday when he met with IOC President Thomas Bach, that the President is fully supportive of the bid.
“The French people are ready,” Macron said.
“You’re right to remember that we lost 3 times,” Macron said when asked about the possibility the French bid could be back if it loses the 2024 Games and there is no double award.
“We don’t want to lose the fourth time.”
Answering a question about security for the Games, especially in wake of terror attacks across France and the rest of the world, Macron said “Terrorism is a global risk.”
“All continents are affected by terrorism, France in particular. But we are taking steps to combat this.”
He listed “the Marathon, the Tour de France, Euro 2016. We were able to show that we could organize security for the events.”
He added that there were no questions or discussions about security issues during the presentation.
On the President’s support for the Games, even as other European nations reject them and there are so many domestic issues to address, Macron said “it’s always easy to mobilize people against things.”
“It is good for a country to mobilize and to back a project. Our citizens want to be proud of our country.
“The fact I was elected a few months ago shows a willingness to renew things.
“I know there will be resistance on some fronts, but we are ready. Opinion polls show that young and old people are behind the bid.”
Hidalgo said in the presentation “But as you know, in Europe, and other parts of the world, many citizens are losing confidence in the future.”
“To build trust again, in Paris, we involve people in public decisions.
“A new approach, to build this great adventure together. This was made possible by Olympic Agenda 2020.
“I saw it as a great opportunity: to create a perfect marriage between the Games-plan and my City’s plan. And I took this opportunity!”
Later Tuesday, Paris could clinch a guarantee to host the Games next decade in 2024 or 2028 if the IOC membership approves a plan to elect both cities at a Session in September.
More to come…
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.