The leadership of the Paris 2024 bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games reiterated their focus on hosting the Games in 2024, and not in 2028 during an important presentation to the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) at the SportAccord Convention in Aarhus, Denmark on Tuesday.
“We believe that we are the right city, with the right vision, at exactly the right moment for sport,” Paris 2024 Co-Chair Tony Estanguet said during the 10-minute presentation (that ran for 11 minutes) alongside bid CEO Etienne Thobois and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo in a standing-room-only conference room.
The Paris presentation directly followed rival’s Los Angeles opportunity to discuss the Olympic project with International Federations gathered at the biggest sport meeting on the calendar.
“[Paris 2024 is] a vision to connect Olympism with the new sharing generation, whose mindset is changing the world,” Estanguet added.
“And who see Paris as a global hub of this new way of thinking.”
The presentation featured Mayor Hidalgo speaking in French, and briefly in Spanish and English, about the value Paris can offer the Olympic movement. Visuals demonstrated the compactness of the venue plan, iconic sight lines offered by monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, and the ideal location of the “brand new Village, tailor made for the athletes.”
The Olympic Village has been the focal point the differentiates the two bids for the 2024 Games. Paris plans to construct a new Olympic Village, often the most costly and risky of the venues needed to organize the Games, in Seine-Saint-Denis – on land, they say, will only be available for the event if held in 2024.
Other than a new aquatics venue and some infrastructure improvements, all other permanent venues for Paris 2024 are built.
For Los Angeles, all permanent venues exist and the Olympic Village will be hosted at the University of California (UCLA) campus which LA 2024 said during its presentation is “more like a resort than a college campus.”
Paris, however, tried to downplay some of LA merits with subtle jabs through the presentation.
Mayor Hidalgo said “we believe that the Games are so much more than entertainment – more than just a branch of show business,” in a clear reference to LA 2024’s close connection with Hollywood and the movie-making business.
LA 2024 is leveraging its Hollywood connection and storytelling capabilities and has already struck deals with iconic studios such as Disney and Warner Brothers. The bid’s Chair Casey Wasserman is a high profile Entertainment executive and grandson of Studio icon Lew Wasserman.
Estanguet further dismissed his opponents strengths, he said “Paris 2024 will help define and then deliver a new, relevant and sustainable model of Olympism in action.”
“Because the answers to the questions we face do not lie in just story-telling or technology.”
The two bids have been battling over their technological advantages, both sponsoring “hackathons”‘ promoting their start-up business capabilities and available technology incubators. On Monday Paris 2024 released a new App to help promote the bid but at the conclusion of LA’s presentation Mayor Garcetti donned cutting-edge Snapchat Glasses to help promote the bid’s partnership with the California-based social media platform widely popular among youth.
But with the IOC discussing plans to possibly award both bids with upcoming Games, one for 2024 and one in 2028, Paris was selling the urgency for 2024, and not just the bid itself.
Estanguet said “Why Paris Now? Some mention the centenary of Paris 1924.”
“Some say because this is the fourth bid in recent years. Others talk about our strong plan, and a united team ready to deliver. All of these are part of the story.
“But they are not the most important part. The most important part is because we believe that we are the right city, with the right vision, at exactly the right moment for sport.”
Both bids are under the microscope at SportAccord as the IOC and a four panel working group consider changes to the bidding process including the possibility of awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Games at one time – each to either LA or Paris. Both bid have maintained the position that they are only considering a 2024 Games, yet that is largely believed to be political posturing with neither city wanting to concede the 2024 opportunity.
On Monday at SportAccord the IOC working group briefly discussed the dual award possibility with each bid, and IOC President Bach met with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
The IOC is scheduled to elect the 2024 host city September 13 in Lima, Peru.