PARIS (Reuters) - Paris bid leaders said almost all the city’s proposed venues were already built or would be temporary facilities as the French capital on Wednesday unveiled plans to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.
The race to stage the Games is now officially underway with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) having received the four candidature files of Paris, Budapest, Rome and Los Angeles.
At a ceremony in the Philharmonie de Paris concert hall, the French unveiled 36 venues in two zones - central Paris and the Paris-St Denis area, a few km north of the city center.
Bid leaders promised that “95 percent of the venues” would be “already existing or temporary to minimize investment”.
In front of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and Prime minister Manuel Valls, they said several events would take place at prestigious venues such as the Stade de France (athletics), Roland Garros (tennis) and the Bercy Arena (basketball).
Temporary structures would be situated in historic locations with equestrian events being held at the Palace of Versailles and beach volleyball at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
Among the facilities yet to be built are the media, Olympic and Paralympic villages in St Denis plus the aquatics center. “New venues and facilities will touch their communities, including the Aquatics Centre, the Media Village and the Olympic and Paralympic Village located in Paris’s younger and fast-growing outer ring,” Hidalgo said.
“These will deliver essential new sports facilities and 3,500 housing units for local communities after the Games and play a significant role in closing the gap between central Paris and its suburban belt.”
The bid leaders said 85 percent of the athletes will be within half-an-hour of their competition venue.
“With 480 training venues within 30 minutes of the Athletes Village, competitors will have optimal conditions to train and perform,” said Tony Estanguet, co-chairman of Paris 2024 and a triple Olympic canoeing champion.
“And with the Athletes Village being located so close to the River Seine, I am confident that Paris will deliver a unique experience for every competing athlete.”
Paris last hosted the Games in 1924 having lost out to Barcelona (1992), Beijing (2008) and London (2012).
The host city of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be announced on Sept. 13, 2017 in Lima.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris