International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said Sunday the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid is a strong candidate as he met with French President François Hollande ending a two-day visit to the capital.
Bach’s visit to the city seeking to host the Games for the third time finished after he attended a football match between refugees and French athletes that was organized by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
Earlier in the day Bach started the “We Run Paris” 10 km run near the Louvre museum where 13,000 runners took part.
Paris 2024 bid leaders then presented its vision to President Bach at Cite du Cinema – a major European film industry hub and working studio in Saint-Denis that would serve as part of the Athletes’ Village if Paris hosts the 2024 Games. Cite du Cinema will be the first athletes’ dining hall in a permanent building and it is located 1km from the proposed Olympic Stadium (Stade de France) and the new Aquatics Centre.
Bach then toured several of the proposed venues for the Games that organizers have emphasized are iconic and lay in a compact footprint.
The tour included the Grand Palais where fencing and Taekwondo would be held, the Esplanade des Invalides that would host Archery, the banks of the River Seine where Triathlon and open water swimming events would be held, and the finish of the Road Cycling races on the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower.
Paris is competing with Budapest, Los Angeles and currently Rome until the Italian Capital withdraws, as expected, from the race. The French Capital lost bids for the 1992, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games but hoped to host again on the 100th anniversary of its last Games in 2024.
Before the end of the Paris visit Hollande welcomed Bach at the Elysee Palace at a private lunch with athletes, Presidents of French sport federations and sponsors.
Hollande is a strong supporter of the bid however he will be facing an election next summer and is currently trailing in the polls. If he loses the election that is due to take place ahead of the bid decision, the next President could have a different bearing on Paris’ campaign.
Saturday evening Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo led the President on the Nuit Blanche tour, an annual cultural festival of arts, music and theatre in central Paris, a 6 km walk that takes in famous Parisian landmarks along the River Seine including Note Dame Cathedral and the Louvre, and Nuit Blanche that runs from dusk to dawn celebrating cutting-edge and contemporary artistry.
Bach said “Paris 2024 is a very strong candidate using some of the city’s iconic sights as a backdrop for the Olympic Games.”
“It is a project in line with the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 particularly in terms of sustainability and legacy with 95 percent of proposed venues either existing or temporary. It also puts athletes at the heart of the Games.
“We are looking forward to a competition between world-class cities each of which delivers for the people of their city, region and country.
“We know that whoever hosts the Olympic Games in 2024 they will be exceptional.”
The IOC will elect a host city September 13, 2017 in Lima, Peru.