IOC Members Wowed by LA and Paris Bid Pitches

(ATR) They tell Around the Rings there is little to choose between the two cities in the Olympic race.

(ATR) IOC members tell Around the Rings there is little to choose between the two cities in the Olympic race.

On Tuesday, both cities pitched IOC members for the first time since launching their Olympic missions two years ago. The 45-minute presentations detailing the cities’ visions and bid concepts were widely acclaimed.

So too were the exhibitions at the SwissTech Convention Center Wednesday, which gave IOC members further insights into all corners of the bids.

British IOC member Craig Reedie tells Around the Rings: "I am very pleased to see that they are full of people. There is nothing worse in the bidding business than setting up and nobody turning up. Almost all the members were here.

Recalling his role on the London 2012 bid in 2005, he said the LA and Paris presentations both yesterday and Wednesday "are light years better than 12 years ago".

He also commented on the IOC’s decision to hammer out a tripartite agreement to decide the host cities for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics.

"I thought the IOC presented it logically in a way everyone could understand. The situation is quite clear – the cities have to sit down with the IOC and make up their minds whether all parties agree and if they don’t then we have a vote in Lima. At least there is certainty," he said.

Willi Kaltschmitt, IOC member from Guatemala, said both cities delivered strong presentations on Tuesday and was impressed by the content of the bid booths opened for members in the SwissTech Center.

On the tripartite agreement, he said it was good for the Olympics.

Asked if the deal, expected to be in place next month, would make the Lima Session in September an anti-climax, he said "it’s going to be a ratifying session I suppose" – unless the three parties failed to reach agreement.

Barbados IOC member Austin Sealey said the 45-minute presentations to the IOC members Tuesday by LA and Paris were very good, while the bids’ exhibits worked well: "I am sure they are both getting across their messages."

On the IOC’s attempts to strike a tripartite agreement with LA and Paris "makes a lot of sense, I think it is a win-win situation".

"It’s tough. There is a lot of feeling out there for both. I can see the Paris 1924 significance, one had that as well with Athens in 1996 when Atlanta won," he said.

Paris Turns to De Coubertin

The French bid’s exhibit was inspired by Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics. Styled as a Parisian apartment owned by De Coubertin’s grandson with screens showing views across the city, it featured Olympic memorabilia from the likes of bid leader Tony Estanguet and IOC member Guy Drut and a range of interactive displays.

ATR was told that around 70 IOC members came through the doors before media were allowed access.

A gold medal of sharing, with four medals locked together by magnets, grabbed the most attention. French athletes came up with the idea, which would allow medal winners to keep one of them and pass the other three to members of their entourage they wanted to honor for helping them achieve their goal. It formed part of the Paris 2024 presentation to the IOC.

A model showing the Olympic venues within a 10km radius also stood out. IOC members were "enthusiastic about the compactness of it," said a bid official.

CEO Etienne Thobois told ATR that members had reacted positively to the Paris 2024 exhibit, particularly the medal sharing idea, an initiative which aligns with the bid slogan ‘Made for Sharing’.

LA Offers Hi-tech Olympic Experience

IOC members were able to test their dexterity at Virtual Reality archery, take a virtual tour of the future Olympic Village on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), or virtually hang out in a luxury suite of the future Hollywood Park football stadium alongside L.A. bid chairman Casey Wasserman.

Bid CEO Gene Sykes reflected on yesterday’s IOC decision, while welcoming visitors to the room. Surfing and 'City of Angels'-themed videos enhanced the visitor experience.

"We accomplished everything we wanted to accomplish and then to have the IOC Session vote to award both 24 and 28 at the same time, saying essentially we like both these proposals and both cities are qualified to host the Olympics.

"That’s a very exciting outcome so we’re pleased," he said.

The Los Angeles native would not reveal the bid’s expectations as to next steps to securing the 2024 Games versus running the organizing committee for 11 years until 2028.

"I don’t really care to discuss any expectations at all," Sykes said. "All of that is yet to be determined."

Sykes would not comment when asked what role the U.S. government might play in determining which city will host in ’24 and which ‘in 28.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with his counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Thursday in Paris; Macron was in Lausanne for 48 hours supporting the bid team.

"I haven’t given any thought to that because everything we’ve thought about is sort of in our own grasp," Sykes said, after a long pause.

U.S. track and field stars Michael Johnson and Allyson Felix were also present. IOC members could check out LA’s four-cluster venue plan on an interactive video screen, enhanced with countless stats.

Prince Albert II, along with other IOC members, was seen choosing between the vast selection of U.S. sweets and snacks as well as healthy California fruit smoothies on offer.

Reported by Mark Bisson and Brian Pinelli in Lausanne.

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