Final stage the toughest for Paris: bid leader

Source:AFP Published: 2016/12/16 23:08:39

French capital favorite to win hosting right for 2024 Olympic Games

Paris is the hot favorite to win the right to host the 2024 Olympic Games but, having fallen at the final hurdle before, knows the hardest part is yet to come - convincing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) its bid is the strongest.

In July 2005 in Singapore, London pipped an over-confident Paris, which had lost out to Beijing for the 2008 Games, to win the right to stage the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, triggering tears in the French camp when the vote results were announced.

Paris has put together a compact bid but three-times Olympic canoeing champion Tony Estanguet, who leads the candidacy with former International Rugby Board president Bernard Lapasset, warned that selling the project will be key.

"We're exactly where we wanted to be at this time of the process. What's left for us now is to go and sell our project," Estanguet told Reuters at the Paris 2024 general assembly.

"We have learnt from past bids to come back stronger than Paris 2012 with athletes now at the heart of the candidacy."

Paris last hosted the Olympic Games in 1924. The winner of the three-horse race between Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest will be announced on September 13, 2017 in Lima.

IOC President Thomas Bach recently said that the bid process was producing "too many losers," and there was speculation that the 2024 and 2028 Games could be awarded simultaneously.

"We have not been officially contacted on that, so we stay on track and want to win the 2024 Olympic Games according to existing rules," Estanguet said.

Betfair have made Paris 8/13 favorites to win the IOC vote, ahead of Los Angeles (9/4) and Budapest (9/2).

"I don't believe in odds and bookmakers," Estanguet said. "The race is far from over. There is still a long promoting phase left and it's going to be very difficult. We know too well that a campaign can be decided in the final weeks."

Politics, however, will have no bearing on the bid, according to Estanguet.

"We are supported by the city [of Paris], the region and the state, who are not on the same political side," Estanguet said.

There was speculation that Donald Trump would not support the Los Angeles bid but Mayor Eric Garcetti's office said last month that the US president-elect would back the candidacy.

Posted in: OLYMPICS

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