Still “work to do” IOC claims after arriving in France to examine French Alps 2030 Winter Olympics bid

The French Alps, named the IOC's preferred candidate to host the 2030 Games last November, is almost assured to win the Games but must first pass the IOC's due diligence (targeted dialogue) which includes detailed plans, guarantees and this week's visit

An International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegation of experts, stakeholders, executives and members of the Future Host Commission (FHC) arrived in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France Monday to launch a series of meetings and venue tours aimed at evaluating the French Alps 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid. The group will travel from the North to South through proposed venue clusters, ending the trip in Nice on Thursday and Friday.

The French Alps, named the IOC’s preferred candidate to host the 2030 Games last November, is almost assured to win the Games but must first pass the IOC’s due diligence (targeted dialogue) which includes detailed plans, guarantees and this week’s visit. The IOC Executive Board must then approve the work and recommend the bid to the IOC Session for a likely rubberstamping with a vote July 24 in Paris.

An introductory meeting to the five day trip was held Monday at La Clusaz with remarks from IOC FHC chair Austrian Karl Stoss; French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) president David Lappartient, French Paralympic and Sport Committee (CPSF) president Marie-Amélie Le Fur, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional president Laurent Wauquiez and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regional president Renaud Muselier.

Later delegates toured the cross-country ski and biathlon venues, Le Grand-Bornand.

The visit will continue Tuesday with tours of La Plagne (bobsleigh, luge, skeleton), Courchevel (alpine, and ski jumping) and Bozel (proposed Olympic Village).

On Wednesday delegates will move to Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur to explore Montgenèvre (freestyle skiing and snowboarding), Serre-Chevalier (freestyle skiing and snowboarding) and Briançon (proposed Olympic Village).

On Thursday the teams will arrive in Nice on the French Riviera for meetings and to review additional venues including Allianz Arena and proposed new sites for figure skating, curling, short-track and hockey.

Final meetings and a press conference will take place Friday.

There are several items to discuss during the scheduled meetings including plans for the speed skating oval that last week the IOC said could be stage outside France, possibly in Italy or the Netherlands. Ski venue capacities will also be reviewed as organizers have proposed multiple options in various regions. The IOC will also seek further assurances that guarantees from governments and other stakeholders will be delivered after many were missed at the previous March deadline.

“The finish line has not yet been crossed,” Stoss warned the bid committee, according to Ouest France.

“We have to ask questions to the presidents, to the Olympic Committee, to the community, this is a very important step,” he added.

“We still have a little work to do with the study of the sites, the Olympic Villages, the transport networks and interviews with the mayors and the athletes concerned.”

Val d’Isère was notably excluded from the tour despite local stakeholders urging organizers to stage slalom events at its historic venue. Instead slalom will be staged elsewhere to improve the cluster arrangement.

The IOC held a similar tour earlier this month in Salt Lake City, Utah to examine the United States’ bid to host the 2034 Winter Games. That was a four day trip across a compact footprint where venues were no more than one hour from the central Olympic Village. Stoss said that bid was a “role model” for the IOC and other regions hoping to host the Winter Games.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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