Paris and Rome bid leaders utilised Wednesday’s deadline for the first stage of the revamped bidding process for candidate cities by fleshing out their visions for the 2024 Olympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday confirmed it had received the four candidature files from Los Angeles (USA), Rome (Italy), Budapest (Hungary) and Paris (France) ahead of the deadline for part one of the process, concerning ‘Vision, Games Concept and Strategy’.
Paris and Rome used the occasion to stage major presentations on their bids, with the French capital shedding more light on its venue plans. At a ceremony in the Philharmonie de Paris concert hall, Paris 2024 detailed 36 venues in two main hubs – central Paris and the Paris-St Denis area. Bid leaders pledged that “95 per cent of the venues” would be “already existing or temporary to minimise investment”.
Major existing venues such as the Stade de France (athletics), Roland Garros (tennis) and the recently redeveloped Bercy Arena (basketball) will be utilised, while historic locations will stage events such as the Palace of Versailles for equestrian and beach volleyball at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
Paris 2024’s main commitments for new development come in the shape of the Olympic, Paralympic and media villages in St Denis, an aquatics centre close to the Stade de France and a new indoor arena in the southern Bercy neighbourhood. The infrastructure budget for the Games is expected to total €3bn ($3.35bn), with operational costs of €3.2bn.
“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,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said, according to the Reuters news agency.
“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.”
Rome 2024 also put on a lavish presentation, with the capital’s historic monuments to the fore under a bid theme of ‘the Italian art of the welcome’. Utilising many venues that played a role in the 1960 Games in Rome, the candidacy proposes using existing structures for 70 per cent of the required sites. The Games budget is projected at €5.3bn, with €2.1bn earmarked for the construction of permanent venues and the remainder for temporary venues.
Rome 2024 envisions road cycling alongside the Roman Forum, beach volleyball at the Circus Maximus and the marathon passing through St. Peter's Square to finishing under the Arch of Constantine, along with a nightly parade of athletes at the Colosseum.
The bid is based on three clusters in the shape of the existing Stadio Olimpico and surrounding Foro Italico complex for athletics and swimming; the Fiera convention centre near the airport for indoor sports; and Tor Vergata. “If we had the opening ceremony tomorrow at the Stadio Olimpico, we could then host athletics or swimming immediately,” Rome 2024 chairman Luca di Montezemolo said, according to the Associated Press news agency. “We're ready.”
Permanent venues to be developed would include an athletes’ village and multi-sports arena at the Tor Vergata University on the city’s outskirts, media facilities and a cycling velodrome. Di Montezemolo added that Rome 2024 has already signed sponsorship contracts with airline Etihad-Alitalia, banking group BNL-BNP Paribas and insurance firm UnipolSai.