Paris 2024 Olympics: A 'victory for France', says Macron

AFP - [email protected] • 14 Sep, 2017 Updated Thu 14 Sep 2017 09:41 CEST
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President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday hailed the decision to award the 2024 Olympics to Paris as a 'victory for France'.


Macron said after the International Olympic Committee vote in Lima that rubber-stamped the historic double award of the 2024 Games to Paris and the 2028 Olympics to Los Angeles that "the whole country must get behind" the event.

"I salute this success and the tremendous opportunity that the Games represent to assist in the transformation of our country, to increase its international attractiveness... and strengthen the role of sport across France," the president said, speaking after visiting hurricane-hit Caribbean islands.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who was in Peru for the vote, tweeted: "Historic. A hundred years after 1924 we are bringing the Games back to Paris."


The venues
A key argument in the Paris bid for the 2024 Olympics was that, thanks to venues such as the Stade de France and Roland Garros, 95 percent of the necessary infrastructure is already in place.
From the Ile-Saint-Denis to the north, where the Olympic village is planned, to the Bercy arena, many proposed sites are situated on the banks of the Seine.
And the river running through the French capital will be cleaned up for the Games so that it can host swimming and open water events.
The historic monuments that attract millions of tourists every year will form the backdrop for other events, from the Champs-de-Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower to the Invalides and the Champs Elysées, where the cycling road race is set to finish.
"The historic concept of the Olympic park can be applied to the whole city thanks to the proximity of the sites to each other," said Paris bid co-chairman and three-time Olympic slalom canoe champion Tony Estanguet during a visit by the IOC's assessment team in May.
But Paris will still have to spend around $3 billion on building and renovating sites, with half of the amount going on the Olympic village alone.

Challenges ahead

One of the organisers' biggest challenges will be to keep within budget -- a challenge that has defeated so many of their predecessors.

The French capital has set a relatively modest budget of 6.6 billion euros ($7.9 billion) for the Olympics, but London in 2012, Athens in 2004 and Sydney in 2000 all saw their budgets for hosting the Summer Olympics at least double from the time of their bids to the final bill.

The budget-busting reached its peak with the 2008 Beijing Games for which costs ballooned to a vertiginous 32 billion euros, more than ten times the original budget.
Vladimir Andreff, a sports economist at Paris' Sorbonne university, described Olympic budget inflation as "the curse of winning an auction".
"In theory, the winner of an auction is the most optimistic participant and the one prepared to outbid everyone else," said Andreff, one of three experts who contributed to a financial impact study commissioned by the Paris bid team.
"And when there are a lot of competing cities, the winner is trapped."



AFP 2017/09/14 09:41

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