International Olympic Committee evaluation commission kicks off Paris visit


The thorny issue of Trump’s impact is even more pronounced since the International Olympic Committee delegation reviewing the bids is expected to be greeted by France’s President-elect Emmanuel Macron when they tour Paris next week. Another closed-doors working session will take place on May 16 before a final press conference will be held by Baumann, IOC executive director Christophe Dubi and Paris 2024.

“[Paris] is very different [from LA] and quite right that we say it is quite exceptional. We, along with all our partners, look forward to showcasing Paris, an Olympic city that lives and breathes sport, to the IOC over the coming days”.

Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban travel from six Muslim-majority countries, which is now being reviewed in the courts, could prove problematic with the diverse membership of the International Olympic Committee when they vote later this year. Organisers say spectators will be able to travel around the city using public transportation, including a beefed-up metro system, but LA is up against Paris’s first-rate metro.

However, Baumann said, “I’m concentrating on 2024”.

“We don’t think that is going to be an issue”, he said. “2024-2028 was not a matter of discussion”.

Emmanuel Macron has vowed to find time to meet the commission delegates although no appointment has been set yet as he will be inaugurated as French President to replace Francois Hollande on Sunday.

The delegation, led by IOC Evaluation Commission chairman Patrick Baumann, arrived at Roissy Charles De Gaulle airport around 1:50 p.m. local time, and were welcomed by French Olympic Committee president Denis Masseglia, mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and Bernard Lapasset and Tony Estanguet, co-presidents of the Paris bid committee.

Los Angeles, which is competing against Paris for the right to host the Games, has based its bid on an array of iconic venues which already exist or are being built.

On Monday the Commission will leave the conference room and visit venues across the city for a first-hand look at the elements of the bid’s concept.

To win, Paris will need to compete with the vast popularity of the Games in Los Angeles where in an independent survey previous year 88 per cent of Angelenos say they support the bid.

Paris unveiled another high-profile supporter in former France soccer great and Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

“I was involved in several bids, but this one is really close to our hearts”, said Zidane, who also supported the Qatar bid to host soccer’s 2022 World Cup and was involved in Paris’s 2008 and 2012 failed bids.

“If you can create winners instead of so many losers, it’s good for the (Olympic) movement”, Garcetti said, standing at the free-throw line on the basketball court at Staples Center. “It’s hard to give them less than 10 out of 10”.

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