Final stage the toughest for Paris: 2024 bid leader

Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:26pm EST
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris is the hot favorite to win the right to host the 2024 Olympics Games but, having fallen at the final hurdle before, knows the hardest part is yet to come - convincing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) its bid is the strongest.

In July 2005 in Singapore, London pipped an over-confident Paris, which had lost out to Beijing for the 2008 Games, to win the right to stage the 2012 Summer Olympics, triggering tears in the French camp when the vote results were announced.

Paris has put together a compact bid but three-times Olympic canoeing champion Tony Estanguet, who leads the candidacy with former International Rugby Board president Bernard Lapasset, warned that selling the project will be key.

"We're exactly where we wanted to be at this time of the process. What's left for us now is to go and sell our project," Estanguet told Reuters at the Paris 2024 general assembly.

"We have learnt from past bids to come back stronger than Paris 2012 with athletes now at the heart of the candidacy."

Paris last hosted the Games in 1924. The winner of the three-horse race between Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest will be announced on Sept. 13, 2017 in Lima.

IOC president Thomas Bach recently said that the bid process was producing "too many losers", and there was speculation that the 2024 and 2028 Games could be awarded simultaneously.

"We have not been officially contacted on that, so we stay on track and want to win the 2024 Olympics according to existing rules," Estanguet said.   Continued...

Co-president of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee Tony Estanguet poses before a meeting of the 2024 Olympic games organising committee in Paris, France, December 15, 2016. Picture taken December 15, 2016.    REUTERS/Charles Platiau