Rivals Become Partners in Olympic Delivery

(ATR) Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 have moved on from competition to cooperation.

(ATR) Paris 2024 chairman Tony Estanguet tells Around the Rings he is enjoying being partners with Los Angeles 2028 organizers as opposed to their rivals.

"I would say that it’s much more pleasant to be in the new phase where we are not anymore in the face of the IOC but a partner of the IOC, and it’s the same with Los Angeles," Estanguet said when asked about transitioning from a candidature city to an Olympic host city.

"I think we all know it’s a win-win situation, a real one, and we can all improve together."

Estanguet was echoing the "win-win-win" rhetoric by IOC President Bach when IOC members voted to pursue a double allocation of the 2024 and 2028 Olympics at an Extraordinary Session in July.

A six-member team from LA 2028 attended the Paris 2024 Orientation Seminar led by Estanguet and Paris 2024 Coordination Commission chairman Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant that marks the beginning of Games preparation with all partners.

"This morning, we spoke a lot and heard a lot about innovation, how to rethink the Games concept," Estanguet told ATR. "I’m sure that Los Angeles will be very involved in this process."

IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi hinted that the collaboration between Paris and LA could open up new frontiers for the Olympic Movement. Dubi intimated that Paris 2024 and LA 2028 could sign joint procurement and sponsorship agreements with vendors for temporary venue construction and other categories.

"I’m not certain it could work, but maybe there are procurement efficiency opportunities out there because there are commonalities between Paris and LA," Dubi told reporters at the closing press conference of the seminar.

"Tents and bleachers, maybe we could have joint procurement for such temporary facilities. Conceptually speaking it’s conceivable, but is it doable in practice? Well, LA and Paris need to have the same expertise at the same time, but I think it’s doable quite sincerely."

Estanguet said that Paris 2024 needs to focus on formalizing its Organizing Committee over the next two months, but after that the relationship with LA 2028 could begin in earnest. When asked if a member of LA 2028 could join the Paris 2024 OCOG, Estanguet held his cards close to his chest.

"There’s something unprecedented in this collaboration and it’s not just words," Estanguet told reporters. "I think we can be better and perform stronger with Los Angeles.

"We’ve identified people who could work on this partnership with LA. We are well aware that there are plenty of areas – communications, marketing, operations – there’s a long, long list of areas where it’s in our best interest to work together."

Paris Deputy Mayor Jean-Francois Martins hopes the partnership can extend outside of the sports world.

"We could have Parisian classes partnered with those in Los Angeles," he told the seminar. "Each district could have a twin class with LA and we could do this over a decade. We could use technology to allow them to communicate and see each other.

"We think we can take it beyond sport and bring people and the population from the two cities together."

LA 2028 chief marketing officer Danny Koblin was one of several presenters during the two-day seminar. He said that pooling the knowledge and innovative capabilities of each city could redefine the delivery of the Olympics.

"Together, our cities can redefine what’s possible in sports presentation, global engagement and the Olympic and Paralympic Games celebration," Koblin said. "As President Bach said, we have guaranteed certainty in uncertain times.

"That doesn’t mean we’ll have the same partners or the same sports program, but it does mean that all of us can offer confidence, continuity and security in our partnership and our negotiations."

Koblin says LA 2028 will not sit idly by as Paris plans for the 2024 Games.

"We see our role as proactive partners in delivering the Games," Koblin added. "We are not just waiting for the knowledge transfer binders from Paris to arrive in seven years."

The LA 2028 team will remain in Paris despite the conclusion of the Orientation Seminar for the next few days to begin hammering out the details of a potential extended collaboration.

The first formal meeting of the Paris 2024 Coordination Commission will take place June 18-19. Dubi tells ATR that representatives from LA 2028 will also be invited to participate in the visit next summer.

Reported and written by Kevin Nutley in Paris.

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