Paralympics Draws Delegations From 2024 Olympic Bids Back To Rio

Bid committees for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games have sent official delegations back to Rio to experience the Paralympic Games that have opened Wednesday at Maracanã Stadium in Brazil.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have allowed bid committees special access to the Games as part of the official observer’s program that began last month during the Olympics.

Paris 2024 representatives Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Co-chairs Tony Estanguet and Bernard Lapasset greet IPC President Sir Philip Craven at Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Twitter Photo)

Paris 2024 representatives Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Co-chairs Tony Estanguet and Bernard Lapasset greet IPC President Sir Philip Craven at Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Twitter Photo)

The Paris 2024 delegation in Rio says it expects to learn and gain valuable insight from the IPC and the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee.  The team is led by bid co-chair and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Tony Estanguet, co-chair Bernard Lapasset and includes Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Lapasset said, “we are excited to be attending the Paralympic Games where our bid delegation intends to listen and learn from the Paralympic Family and celebrate the amazing sporting action.”

“We look forward to gaining valuable insights about the Paralympic hosting experience and the technical organization of the Games and we are delighted to be taking a senior delegation including Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo – emphasizing our commitment, unity and the strong political support for our bid.”

Hidalgo commented, “we see the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a single, united project – one that can lead to increased participation levels in sport and physical activity across all of society in Paris and France.  The Paralympic Games can be a catalyst for change that can open minds and create wonderful new opportunities enabling young people to express their ability and talents, not only in sport, but across many different areas of life.”

“After a successful Olympic Games I’m delighted to be back in Rio to cheer on the athletes and I look forward to meeting with members from the Paralympic family during my visit”.

The LA 2024 Candidature Committee are fielding a 16-strong bid team led by Chairman Casey Wasserman, CEO Gene Sykes, Vice Chair and 12-time Paralympic medalist Candace Cable and IOC Executive Board Member and LA 2024 Senior Advisor for Legacy Anita DeFrantz.  The team hopes to gain a greater understanding of how best the United States and Los Angeles can serve the needs and priorities of the Paralympic Movement.

The team will be joined in Rio by Steve Simon, Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability, and Clayton Frech, CEO and President of Angel City Sports, organizers of the West coast’s largest celebration of adaptive sport, the Angel City Games. United States Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun will also represent the LA 2024 bid committee in Rio and will be joined by numerous LA 2024 team members.

In a statement LA 2024 said “a key area of focus for the LA 2024 bid team will be studying how to harness the global attention of hosting the Paralympic Games to raise awareness of the opportunities, benefits and inclusiveness in Paralympic sport. United States Paralympics currently operates over 200 Paralympic Sports Clubs across the country, and LA 2024 aims to stage a 2024 Paralympic Games that would expand the adaptive sport movement’s reach further to engage millions more participants and their families, and further promote social inclusion and rights for persons with disabilities at home and around the world.”

The run up to the Rio 2016 Paralympics has been troublesome as it has shared in some of the caveats of the Olympic Games including the Zika virus scare, fears over street crime and shoddy facilities in the Olympic and Media Villages.  Additionally, initially low ticket sales and severe budget cuts that caused the elimination of an entire venue cluster have caused great challenges for the Games.

Clearly, the bids will want to learn and capitalize on the opportunity to improve the model should they earn the right to host the Games.

LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said: “Rio de Janeiro served as a spectacular backdrop for the 2016 Olympic Games, providing a breathtaking stage for numerous historic athletic performances.”

“The insights we gather in Rio will undoubtedly inform LA 2024 moving forward as our city builds a Paralympic experience that helps the city and the world better celebrate the unity in diversity that is so essential to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

LA 2024 CEO Gene Sykes said: “The Rio 2016 Olympic Games provided LA 2024 with many lessons, and we are already hard at work, finding ways to build on the best of Rio to create a New Games for new era. We expect the Paralympic Games to be yet another fantastic opportunity for our team to listen and learn, and we are extremely grateful to the IOC and IPC, as well as to the Cariocas for their continued, unparalleled hospitality.”

On Thursday the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) hosted a discussion at Italy House regarding Paralympic Games legacy.  In attendance were Rome 2024 Vice President Luca Pancalli, along with the Bid Committee’s general coordinator, Diana Bianchedi and the head of international relations, Simone Perillo.

Meanwhile in Rome embattled anti-Olympics mayor Virginia Raggi has planned a meeting with CONI President Giovanni Malagò after the Rio Games to discuss the future of the Rome 2024 Olympic bid.  It’s likely that she’ll cancel the bid in order to focus spending on more critical city projects.

The Paralympic Games close on September 18.