Paris Reveals 2024 Olympics Leadership -- On the Scene

(ATR) Tony Estanguet will head the organizing committee for Paris 2024 – if city is awarded those Games in September.

(ATR) Tony Estanguet will lead the organizing committee for the Paris 2024 Olympics – if the French capital is awarded the Games in September.

The triple Olympic slalom canoeist confirmed the bid leadership team at a press conference wrapping up day one of the IOC’s evaluation commission visit.

Estanguet would be president, with his bid co-chairman Bernard Lapasset named honorary president. Bid CEO Etienne Thobois would retain that role in the new-look organizing committee. Mayor Anne Hidalgo is set to spearhead Solideo, the Olympic delivery authority.

The IOC had asked Paris to name its OCOG leadership in meetings today, where governance and legacy were among topics discussed.

"The IOC really wanted to know what would be plans for organisation after Lima if we are awarded [the Games]," Estanguet told reporters.

He said it underlined the "continuity of current system. It is just fantastic".

Lapasset remarked on the IOC’s focus on governance as part of the transition from a bid to an organizing committee, if the 2024 Games are handed to Paris.

The former World Rugby boss said discussions with the IOC had conveyed the Olympic bid momentum "carried by the whole of France".

There was less clarity on what will happen to the Paris Olympic Village plan if the city misses out on 2024 hosting and the 2028 Games is offered. Bid leaders have locked in a land deal for the village – but only for 2024.

Estanguet underscored the point to media, saying the Olympic Village was a key asset of Paris 2024, with guarantees of the public authority in delivering the project and converting it to much-needed housing post-Games.

He refused to be drawn when asked if any other potential Olympic Village site had been identified. "We are very clear on the fact that our project is for 2024 and we continue on this way to bid for 2024."

Answering a question from Around the Rings, Estanguet denied there was any discussion about the IOC’s probable plan to award the 2024 and 2028 Games in September.

Pressed twice about the issue, he said "the mandate of the [IOC] commission is very clear only to assess for 2024". There was also no discussion with Los Angeles 2024 about the 2024/2028 conundrum.

Estanguet suggested the ball was in the IOC’s court. "We have to fulfill with IOC guidelines. They decided the program and have control of what we have to discuss. We are here as a candidate city for 2024."

The IOC’s failure to raise the issue with the bids seems an astonishing omission for its evaluation commission’s inspections at a time when it is scrambling to rescue the trouble-hit Olympic bidding process. Boston, Hamburg, Rome and Budapest dropped out of the 2024 race, leaving the IOC in crisis.

With IOC president Thomas Bach clearly favoring a double award of both Olympics, the four IOC vice presidents have been tasked with determining whether a dual award can work. Recommendations will be made to the IOC Executive Board meeting in July on the eve of the candidate cities briefing in Lausanne July 11-12.

Quizzed about the 2024/28 question, Patrick Baumann, chair of the IOC evaluation commission, told reporters that the IOC was in an "extraordinary" position with two great bidding cities and the issue required analysis by its four-member taskforce.

The Swiss IOC member said Paris 2024 had today given an "exceptional presentation of the project, very well detailed with some very tangible opportunities from a sports, social and economic point of view for the city, region and country".

A reporter asked if he was in the mood to lavish Paris with plaudits as he had done with Los Angeles, a bid he described as "mind-blowing".

Baumann said that if the IOC compared Los Angeles and Paris "I have no choice… good points to the right, good points to the left".

He even suggested it was impossible to go under ranking of 10/10 for most aspects.

On May 14, Paris 2024 laid out to the IOC its venue plans at the heart of the Olympic park around historical monuments. He said the bid team showed "extraordinary enthusiasm and is truly determined to ensure a Games held in Paris are successful and leave a tangible legacy for decades to come".

Reported by Mark Bisson

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