“We are back in the race”: Annecy 2018 Olympic Bid Chief

Speaking from the Global Sports Forum in Barcelona, Spain on Friday – Annecy 2018 Olympic Bid CEO Charles Beigbeder exclusively told GamesBids.com that international communications will be key to France’s success in this race.

“Unlike some other French bids in the past, we really think now that the top priority is international”, Beigbeder explained, alluding to two failed bids by Paris to host the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

“We have to make it known to the world that we are in the race.”

Annecy’s bid has been struggling from the onset. Last year the IOC dealt a blow when the Evaluation Commission said the French bid had to improve its venue plan in order to stay in the race. In January Biegbeder was chosen to replace former CEO Edgar Grospiron who resigned because he believed low funding would prevent his bid from being competitive. Grospiron had admitted that his team fell behind early and were working to catch up.

“Problems in the past are behind,” said the new CEO.

Beigbeder said he and his team worked tirelessly from the time he was appointed in preparation for the IOC Evaluation Commission visit last month – and he said it was a success.

“We were able to show that when problems arise we are able to tackle them and to propose solutions and to react and to adapt quickly.

“[The IOC] wants to be sure that this team is able to react quickly when problems arise which is the day-to-day life of an OCOG.

“I was told that by the IOC team.”

Beigbeder said that it will be important for him to differentiate his bid from the others beyond the technical aspects; he believes the decision by the IOC will be made based on other intangibles such as atmosphere.

“The difficulty we are facing now is that apparently the other bid visits went very well.

“The Olympic Family has three good bid cities.”

Last month French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that should Annecy’s efforts fail for 2018, efforts to bring the Games to France will include Paris for 2020; a comment that seemed to undermine the Annecy campaign. But Beigbeder sees it differently.

“They are so keen and so committed behind Annecy – so supportive of our bid that if by chance we are not selected as the hosting city then France is so keen to host Games in the future that it might be again in 2020.

“This is a good sign that the total commitment of the French State and the French authority is behind Annecy and it has to be understood that way.