Paris’ Deputy Mayor Jean-Francois Martins told Reuters that Paris City Council will vote on Monday to decide whether it will bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. He said, “a good job was made by the sporting world in explaining why and how (to bid)…so we are going toward this vote with optimism”.
An Olympic Games is Paris would mark the 100th anniversary of the last time the city hosted the event in 1924. Paris also hosted the second Olympics in 1900.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo suggested last year that she was not in favour of a bid because of “financial and budgetary” issues, but she has since changed her mind”.
Martins said, “the mayor is convinced. We had budgetary, ethical, ecologic demands. But it shows we are not ecstatic. We are ambitious, passionate, but reasonable”. Martins added,
“Clearly it would be for 2024 only,” he said ruling out any chance of a 2028 follow-up bid should this one fail.
In 2005 Paris lost the 2012 Summer Games to London after previous failures bidding for the 2008 and 1992 editions. Martins said, “the main thing we’ve learned from 2005 is that the sporting movement must carry the bid”.
Paris was considered the strong favourite throughout the 2012 campaign until London appointed Olympian Seb Coe to the leadership role, reinforcing the sport-centred theme of the bid. Then, by effectively leveraging the lobbying efforts of Prime Minister Tony Blair just hours before the vote – London won by a slim four vote margin.
Paris was criticized for its understated approach to the bid that lacked a solid sport theme.
For 2024, Paris already has key venues including a tennis arena in Roland Garros and an athletics stadium with the Stade de France, but other venues would still need to be constructed.
“We will not create a white elephant. It would be a reasonable bid”. He added that the city could use the Grand Palais, an exhibition hall that was used to host the 2010 fencing world championships, and other existing arenas. “We can also build temporary facilities just like London did”.
The Deputy Mayor believes that Paris’ plans are an ideal fit with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Agenda 2020 reforms that stress lower-cost, achievable and sustainable Games’ plans.
Paris would be bidding against Hamburg, Rome and Boston and other cities that could soon enter the race including Budapest, Baku, Doha and a city from India.
The IOC deadline to submit bids is September 15, it will elect the host city of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in 2017.