French President Hollande Says Experience Fighting Terror An Advantage To Paris 2024 Olympic Bid

Reporting from the Main Press Centre at Barra Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro – French President François Hollande claims his country’s experience fighting terror gives Paris an advantage over other cities competing to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

French President François Hollande speaks a Rio 2016 Olympic Games (GamesBids Photo)

French President François Hollande speaks at Rio 2016 Olympic Games (GamesBids Photo)

“Every single country is threatened by terrorism.  We have to fight against terrorism and that’s what we are doing now.”

“By 2024, I sincerely hope, from the bottom of my heart, that we have won the fight.

“Because of all of these [attacks] we have learned how to best protect ourselves, especially during major events like the European Football Championships.

“We have gained a lot of experience that a lot of other cities haven’t had.  A piece of advice for other cities that want to start a bid, they have to ensure the highest level of safety.”

Hollande is in Rio to attend the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony set for Friday night at Maracanã Stadium, but he arrived early to chat with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and to promote Paris’ bid

The President was not about to discuss the details of his behind-closed-doors discussion with Bach, he said he didn’t want to compromise the IOC President and wasn’t about to harm the Paris bid by revealing any strategy.  But he said he did more listening than talking.

He said it is the bid committee’s role to “ask for advice rather than make your arguments for the bid.”

“We need to have the Olympic movement tell us what [hosting the Games] means to us.”

Paris is making is making it’s fourth consecutive bid after failing in attempts to host the 1992, 2008 and the 2012 Games when the city lost to London on the final ballot by four votes.

Hollande said “when you have a failure, even thought we failed by just a few votes, you have to draw conclusions on how to improve your bid.”

“You need to make a totally different kind of bid.”

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo supporting her city's 2024 bid at Rio 2016 (GamesBids Photo)

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo supporting her city’s 2024 bid at Rio 2016 (GamesBids Photo)

Paris has developed a plan that has more social and educational impacts and leaves a positive legacy for youth and the environment, the bid claims.

The bid will be closely watching French Athletes as they perform in Rio this month, hoping for a gold rush that may help boost the profile of the bid when international campaigning begins next year.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said “the best postcard for Paris 2024 is the performance of our athletes right here in Rio in 2016.”

She said “Paris has a rich passion for sport and a strong desire to host major sports events such as the recent successful UEFA EURO 2016 – highlighting the city’s first-class hosting capabilities and love for all sport.”

A recent study revealed that the 3 billion Euro Games investment could generate 11 billion Euro impact on the French economy post Games.  By 2024, Hollande claimed, the economy will be much better.

Hollande emphasized that Paris 2024 shouldn’t be judged based on recent terror attacks, including the coordinated attacks in Paris last year and the Nice attack last month – among others.  He asked, if terror attacks happened in one country should it simply be discarded?”

On the other hand he said “we’re not asking for compassion, despite the fact the world said how they wished to work with us in solidarity after what happened.”

Paris is competing with Budapest, Los Angeles and Rome in a race to host the Games that will be decided by the IOC in September 2017.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of 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.