On Thursday, GamesBids.com published Part 1 of a 2 part interview with Edgar Grospiron, French Olympic Moguls Ski Champion and General Manager of the Annecy 2018 Olympic bid.
The interview took place in Vancouver in February when GamesBids.com caught up with Grospiron, who was in town for the Olympic observers’ program and to provide moguls commentary for French national television.
Following is Part 2 (of 2) of GamesBids.com’s exclusive one-on-one interview with Grospiron; a candid conversation and glimpse into the Annecy 2018 bid.
GB – “How will the success of French athletes at the Vancouver Games impact the bid?”
EG – It will help us. First, to promote sports in France. Winter sports in France is something that is very powerful in the Alps but in all of France winter sports are just considered holidays because our region is made for tourism activity and 30% of the economy is grown by tourism activity and winter sports is 80% of that so it is very important for us. We welcome in Haute-Savoie one million tourists a year. They come for winter sports. It’s not only French, they come from all over the world – but mostly French. So for those people it is important to see that in winter sports we have great champions – they know that but our champions will promote the activity, that’s why it is important for us and important for our economy, that’s why it is important for us to have the Olympics, that’s why we want the Olympics.
As you know we had in 1924 the Olympics in Chamonix for the first time and these and more and more things were our fathers’ and grandfathers’ idea to invent and build the mountain of the 20th century and that’s great, they did a great job because today there is strong activity – but now we are facing new stakes, future ecology issues and things like that. Also the offering – it’s not only here, it is more in the Alps in Switzerland, and now Sochi, and our customers have a greater offer – we have to consolidate our offer. That’s why we have to invent our mountain of the 21st century. And we think that the Games will help us to accelerate that.
GB – “Have you been promoting the bid domestically or internationally? Do people in France know about the bid?”
EG – Yes – they know about it. President Sarkozy said that he was very behind the project and he is supporting the project, so that comes first from the President. Then after we have the ministers of sport; we have all people involved in the project. So now we have to expand that exposure at home and to the world and the IOC members, we know that – and that’s what we have been facing here.
They are frustrated not to see Annecy taking part in the competition as Munich and PyeongChang did since six months. So it’s kind of frustrating for them. They thought that Annecy was not interested by the Olympics. They knew that Annecy was bidding but they hadn’t seen anybody from Annecy. I’m talking about the IOC members and the press. So we are late and we have to be more present, be more active to promote our bid internationally. That’s typical French.
GB – “Are you using the experiences from the Paris bids to help Annecy?”
EG – Yes. For Paris, the technical bid was very good and we are learning from that. We are learning about also from the mistakes that we did and we don’t want to do that again. You know we put politics in front. It’s not the same now in France, it’s not the politics in front, it’s the athletes.
GB – “What will be the biggest challenge moving forward?”
EG – It’s going to be a big job to face the big challenge. If we want to reach the other contenders, I think the next big challenge for us will be to be credible, to build our credibility in the minds of the IOC members and in the minds of the world of Olympism. Because I know it’s not done yet, we haven’t built our credibility yet. It’s going to come.
EG – When I was asked to take the leadership of the bid, I said yes but I can’t do that just by myself – I need to have other athletes with me. And what I am very proud of is that athletes such as Gwendal Peizerat, Olympic champion; such as Jean-Pierre Vidal; also Olympic champion, such as Perrine Pelen, she’s an Olympic medalist; such as Florence Masnada, she’s an Olympic medalist; we are all totally involved. But on an operational level this is very important for us. We are not just here as ambassadors, we are here because we have an Olympic background and experience, Olympic experience and professional experience. We are here to learn also and we are learning a lot.
– End –
On Monday, initial bid plans are due into the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for evaluation and the IOC will announce a shortlist based on their findings in June.