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Paris 2024 focused on original goal, bid team to remain in place for Games delivery

Paris bid leaders have maintained they are firmly focused on securing the 2024 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games over the potential option of the 2028 edition, as it was confirmed that the senior bid team is set to remain in place should the French capital land the multi-sport showpiece.

Following its trip to Los Angeles, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Evaluation Commission yesterday (Sunday) commenced its visit to Paris in the wake of the May 7 election of Emmanuel Macron as France’s new President.

Macron, at 39 France’s youngest-ever leader, officially took office yesterday and is set to meet IOC officials on Tuesday. “Our team has a new member, the new President of France, Emmanuel Macron,” Paris 2024 co-chair Tony Estanguet (pictured) said, according to the Associated Press news agency. “He’s been a fantastic supporter of our bid from the beginning. He will be with us all the way to Lima and hopefully beyond.”

Los Angeles and Paris are currently the two sole remaining contenders for the 2024 Games, but the IOC is currently considering awarding rights to the 2024 and 2028 Olympics at its congress in Lima, Peru on September 13.

The IOC in March formed a working group to assess changes to the candidature process for the Olympic Games that could see both Los Angeles and Paris achieve success in September. Currently only the 2024 Games destination is scheduled to be decided, but the prospect of both 2024 and 2028 being allocated has been raised with IOC president Thomas Bach stating that the current status quo creates “too many losers”.

The IOC Executive Board has requested that its four vice-presidents “explore changes” in Olympic bidding and report back in July. Los Angeles 2024 officials last week softened their stance on the prospect of landing the 2028 Games instead of the event they are currently bidding for, but Paris 2024 appears to remain focused on its original mission.

“We have one goal during these few days: to convince you that Paris is the right city, with the right vision, at the right moment,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said. “The right city with world-class venues and accommodation, and the best public transport in the world, ready right now. With financial and political stability and support, we are ready right now. At the right moment, as the no risk option.”

Evaluation Commission chair Patrick Baumann said Sunday’s talks focused solely on the 2024 Games. “Right now we are still in a process where we assess a potential candidacy for 2024,” Baumann said. “2024-2028 was not a matter of discussion.”

It was also revealed yesterday that Estanguet will be president of the Paris 2024 organising committee, should the city land the hosting rights. Fellow co-chair Bernard Lapasset will serve as honorary president, while Étienne Thobois will continue as chief executive.

The Evaluation Commission is continuing its tour today with visits to Paris 2024’s proposed venues and the trip will wrap up tomorrow with further meetings. “Our friends of Paris 2024 presented us with an exceptional and well detailed bid presentation,” Baumann added. “We have two cities with a wonderful Olympic spirit. It’s difficult to give them less than 10 out of 10.”