Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Wednesday urged all French Presidential candidates to thrown their support behind Paris’ bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Hidalgo reportedly spoke to a group of French senators and said her team has met with all candidates asking them to build a “national unity” around the bid.
Incumbent President François Hollande is a strong supporter of the bid and a close ally of Hidalgo, both Socialists. Hollande traveled to the Olympics in Rio last month to help campaign for Paris 2024.
But Hollande is polling poorly ahead of the elections that are scheduled for April and May next year – about the same time that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission is scheduled to visit the French Capital for a hands-on inspection. Other candidates for President may not be as supportive of the Paris Olympic project, and strong Federal support is key to winning an Olympic bid.
Hidalgo told reporters that political consensus is a “decisive element” and that IOC President Thomas Bach shared that “it is a very solid asset in our bid”.
While Hidalgo tries to shore up future support of the French bid, she’ll be noting the near-collapse of Rome’s bid, also on Wednesday after the Mayor of Italy’s capital Virginia Raggi announced that she would not be supporting the campaign. Without municipal support, the bid can’t move forward.
Rome had strong multilevel government support, including from the former Mayor, when the bid application was submitted last September. But a June Mayoral election put anti-Olympic bid candidate Raggi in office landing the bid in peril.
A similar French Presidential election result could have a negative impact on Paris’ bid.
Meanwhile Hidalgo continued to campaign earnestly on behalf of the bid.
She told the senate committee “we propose that the triathlon event take place around this spectacular location, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, in the Seine.”
“And to do that we will have to go further in cleaning up the water.
“It would need to be a project to make it possible [to swim in the Seine] permanently and not only for the Games,” she said.
Paris is bidding for the 2024 Games along with Budapest and Los Angeles with Rome likely dropping out the the race once the city assembly rubber-stamps a motion by Mayor Raggi.
The IOC will choose the host city for the Games in September 2017.
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.