Paris is moving closer to a bid for the Olympic Games in 2024, exactly a century after it last hosted the “greatest show on earth”.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said “extremely important steps” had been made towards a possible bid after she received the results of a feasibility study on the Olympic Games. Hidalgo, a Socialist, said she was pleased with the financial and environmental guarantees provided, though added that she would first seek the backing of the city council in April.
The study claimed the Games could be organized for just over 6 billion euros, half the amount spent for London 2012 and a fraction of the cost of the Beijing Olympics. A bid would also benefit from planned infrastructure investments that are set to improve public transport in the Paris region.
Paris last hosted the Games in 1924 and has failed in its last three bids, including a traumatic defeat in the race to host the 2012 Olympics. The French capital was the hot favorite at the time and many Parisians remain convinced they were robbed by London. Hidalgo, who was deputy mayor when Paris lost the 2012 bid, is said to be wary of suffering a similar debacle once again.
French media say a bid enjoys broad support among government members eager to boost France’s stagnant economy and dispel notions of the country’s decline. According to a CSA survey published earlier this week, 73% of French people also back a bid.
If it enters the race, Paris will be up against a highly competitive field that already includes Boston and Rome. Germany is deciding between Berlin and Hamburg, while South Africa’s Durban may bid to become the first African city to host the Games. Istanbul, which lost to Tokyo for the 2020 Games, Doha, and the Azerbaijani capital of Baku have also been touted as possible candidates.
The deadline for submission of bids to the International Olympic Committee is September 15, 2015. A short list of candidate cities will be chosen in May 2016, with a final decision due the next year.
Photo by Naval History & Heritage Command // Flickr