Rowing boss Rolland and tennis star Mauresmo among 200 figures involved in Paris 2024 feasibility study
Monday, 26 May 2014
A feasibility study featuring 12 Working Groups compiled of 200 figures from across French society has been unveiled today to consider whether a proposed Paris bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games should go ahead.
The Groups, unveiled by the French Committee of International Sport (CFSI) President Bernard Lapasset, will study all aspects of the potential bid over the next four months before submitting a decision to political leaders later this year.
In particular, there will be a focus on meeting the needs of France, and on how to best encourage International Olympic Committee (IOC) members to vote for Paris.
The members consist of figures from a wide variety of backgrounds, including former athletes, Federation Presidents, and representatives of industry, business and civil society, with Sports Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem one notable participant.
Also included are three prominent sporting females, consisting of the three-time Olympic champion sprinter Marie-Jose Perec, the two-time Grand Slam winning tennis player Amelie Mauresmo and the double gold medal-winning fencer Laura Flessel.
Former tennis player Amelie Mauresmo is among those being consulted
Martin Fourcade, who won two biathlon gold medals for France at Sochi 2014, and the four-time European table tennis champion Jean-Philippe Gatien are among the male participants, along with Athens 1997 world 400m hurdles champion Stéphane Diagana.
Also included are several sporting administrators such as the President-elect of the International Rowing Federation, Jean-Christophe Rolland and the race director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme.
Slalom canoeist turned IOC member Tony Estanguet is also included as an effort is made to discover the opinion of IOC members first hand.
"We do not want to rush to announce the nomination, we must first organise a strategy," announced Bernard Lapasset, who is also President of the International Rugby Board.
"The first step, therefore, is reflection.
"The Working Groups will meet three times between June 16 and September 14, with the first two occasions taking place before July 14.
"Their proposals will be reviewed in September, for a final decision of the study expected at the end of the year."
Although Lapasset insisted "the athletes are at the heart of the process", the final decision, expected in the summer of 2015, will be made by political leaders.
But there will also be a public consultation conducted in parallel to the feasibility study, via a dedicated website which will open on June 16 with the aim of gaining ideas and innovations from the general public.
Given the fact the 2024 contest is likely to consist of a powerful United States bid, strengthened by the signing of a contract between the IOC and broadcaster NBC Universal, there is a realisation that there is no room for error if a successful bid is to be launched.
Paris last hosted the Olympic Games in 1924, and has failed with bids to host the 1992, 2008 and, most recently, 2012 editions, where they finished runners-up to London despite being favourites for much of the preceding contest.
The French city of Annecy also lodged an unsuccessful bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics, in which the city finished third with just seven votes behind winners Pyeongchang, which won 63 votes, and Munich.
While a recent poll of French companies found 83 per cent were in favour of Paris 2024, other polls have been less positive, and assessing public reaction is another key aim of the feasibility study.
The withdrawal of Kraków from the 2022 Olympic race following a failed referendum in the Polish city yesterday, along with the problems faced by Oslo in their bid, is a further indication of the economic pitfalls facing all European bids.
The race for the 2024 Games has already been marked by a number of contenders withdrawing due to economic and logistical concerns, including Mexico City, St Petersburg, Kazan and Toronto.
Among those still considering bids are up to six cities across the United States, along with Rome, Berlin and Hamburg.