Paris 2024 Approval Is Next Step Towards Athlete-Led Olympic Bid

As was widely expected, Paris city council voted Monday in favour of pursuing hosting rights to the 2024 Olympic Games.  A resolution passed by the 168-member council calls for the city to join with France’s national Olympic committee along with the regional and state governments to develop a bid that should be athlete-driven.

The bid has already received the necessary support from French President Francois Hollande.

Tony Estanguet, riding for the gold medal at the 2006 World Championships in Prague, will lead the Paris 2024 Olympic Bid (Wikipedia Image)

Tony Estanguet, riding for the gold medal at the 2006 World Championships in Prague, will lead the Paris 2024 Olympic Bid (Wikipedia Image)

“The Council has spoken, here we are in this new Olympic adventure,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo said after a show of hands confirmed support for the bid.

Paris’ past failed bids – for the 1992, 2008 and 2012 Games –  had been criticized for lacking athlete leadership and a focus on sport.  The latter bid lost by only a slim margin after London appointed renowned Olympian Seb Coe as chief mid-way through the campaign.  French International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and triple Olympic champion canoeist Tony Estanguet is reportedly set to lead Paris 2024.

Now France’s national Olympic Committee (CNOSF) has until September 15 to officially submit a bid, but it can engage with the (IOC) to discuss the bid immediately as part of the new invitation stage that the IOC opened in January.  A final decision is expected in June.

This bid would be a one-shot deal according to Paris’ deputy mayor in charge of sport Jean-Francois Martins who last week said there would be no 2028 bid if this attempt failed.  It will mark the 100th anniversary of France’s previous Summer Games in Paris, the third overall for the capital that also hosted in 1900.

France last hosted the Olympic Winter Games in Albertville in 1992 but  was demoralized after a bid for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Annecy only received seven of a possible 95 votes and losing to PyeongChang, South Korea.

A feasibility report released earlier this year suggested that $3 billion (USD) will be needed by the city to develop the necessary infrastructure to host the Games in addition to the organizing costs, and about $1.7 billion is expected to be funded by the IOC.  The risk of escalating infrastructure costs have caused an outcry across Europe after reports revealed that over $50 billion was spent for projects across Sochi to support Russia’s 2014 Games.  As a result, all four European bids to host the 2022 Winter Games were withdrawn due to lack of funding or support.

Palais Bourbon In Paris during 2012 Olympic Bid Campaign in 2005

Palais Bourbon In Paris during 2012 Olympic Bid Campaign in 2005

Euronews reported that Martins estimated the bidding cost would be 60 million euros.

If finalized Paris’ bid will join counterparts from Rome, Boston and Hamburg; the latter two struggling with low public support.  A survey conducted in France in January revealed that 73% are in favour of a Paris bid.

Budapest, Istanbul, Baku, an Indian city and others are being discussed and could enter the race before the deadline.

The IOC will select a short list of candidates in the spring of 2016 and announce the elected host city at its session in Lima, Peru in 2017.

Robert Livingstone

About Robert Livingstone

Robert Livingstone is a senior editor, award-winning journalist and author, covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. He is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians. Follow him @enotsgnivil