Annecy went for a softly, softly approach in its 2018 Winter Olympic bid pitch to the IOC in Durban today. PyeongChang is next, with the IOC vote about five hours away.
French Prime Minister François Fillon, IOC member Guy Drut, French Olympic committee president Denis Masseglia, bid vice presidents Pernilla Wiberg and Jean-Pierre Vidal, Olympian Kevin Roland, Annecy mayor Jean-Luc Rigaut, sports minister Chantal Jouanno.
Annecy bid team trotted out well-worn lines about the Alpine town delivering "an authentic Games celebration in an exceptional mountain setting" graced by the character and spirit of the local communities. French team emphasised the bid concept was driven by athletes for the benefit of athletes. Promise of intimate, friendly and accessible Games.
Bid offers the most compact venues plan for a Winter Olympics, despite IOC criticism of distances between facilities. Notable from Vidal was a pledge to ensure venues would be easy to get around. Travel times were an issue for IOC Evaluation Commission. 90 percent of French population declared support for Annecy
Charles Beigbeder (speaking in English) said Annecy offers "warm, welcoming, wonderful Games. We will stage a Games full of joie de vivre."
Wiberg: "Our venue plan will provide excitement, innovation and integration."
Rigaut: "We have a long-term goal to reinvent the mountain economy for the 21st century."
Masseglia urged IOC members to understand the "legacy they [the Olympics] will leave the country and impact on young people in France and around the world."
Jouanno said Annecy's concept was "a model of sustainable development for future Games [for UEFA Euro 2016 championships and Ryder Cup in 2018]. The Games "will connect with the new generation".
Fillon (started in French before switching to English): "France is ready to take up the challenge. In 2018, it will be 50 years since Grenoble. In the 21st century, we want to reinvent this experience with you. France wants to be this partner, offering you the strength of its commitment, its passion."
Killy: "They will bring soul and savoir-faire."
Best aspect of presentation was Killy directly addressing IOC members right at the end and talking about Annecy's pioneering mountain spirit and love of winter sports.
Lackluster start from Guy Drut. Muted applause from IOC members to video showing Annecy's mountain landscape halfway through. One other video but poor soundtracks meant they lacked punch. Presentation leant on photos and speeches too much.
5/10. No big bang from Annecy. The team failed to dazzle but in restating that an authentic Games in a village-style setting would be good for the Olympic Movement, they may have something. However cliched, that consistent messaging may yet stick in the minds of IOC members come the vote.
Written and reported in Durbanby Mark Bisson