Annecy 2018 ceo Edgar Grospiron. (ATR)
(ATR) Annecy 2018 CEO Edgar Grospiron tells Around the Rings
that the French Winter Olympic bid's new "ultra-compact" venue concept unveiled today answers IOC concerns and has strengthened its chances in the race for the Games.
"We are in good shape. The technical bid is much stronger than it used to be. I think we have more chances than before," Grospiron told ATR
Monday shortly after presenting Annecy's new venue setup at a press conference in Paris.
Annecy leaders also unveiled a new bid slogan, 'Snow, Ice and You!' that will accompany the bid's national and international promotional activities in the months leading up to the IOC vote on the 2018 host city in July.
They also announced the backing of 500 sportsmen and women who will be rolled out in the bid's international campaign in the coming months. Triple Olympic champion Marie-Jose Perec was the first to be presented to the press when she attended today's news conference. Football legend Zinedine Zidane is also expected to play a prominent role as a bid ambassador.
Under the reworked venue plans, all ice and snow events would take place within a 21 mile radius at two main bases, Annecy and Chamonix, which are less than an hour apart and linked by motorway and the “Games Train”.
All alpine skiing will take place in Chamonix, which also hosts ice hockey. All freestyle skiing and snowboard is now centred on Annecy.
Curling is relocated to Annecy, the hub of most ice sports, meaning that the Olympic Village will be a little bigger than previously, to accommodate 2,500 athletes and officials.
The bid has moved the second Olympic Village (1,500 beds) from the Mont Blanc valley into the center of Chamonix.
Grospiron, the 1992 Olympic moguls champion, said the bid's new venue plan responded to IOC criticism in June that Annecy's competition venues were excessively
Annecy's new venue plan.
dispersed. The IOC report slammed the original venue plan saying it would "present major operational and financial challenges" that would "affect the Games experience for all client groups, particularly athletes".
"We have worked to meet IOC expectations on the one side and on the other to address the concerns of local authorities," said Grospiron.
"It is an ultra-compact set-up," he said, claiming the alpine skiiing venues were only six to seven minutes by bus from the Olympic Village in Chamonix.
Grospiron said Annecy 2018 was planning to refine its transportation plan in the coming weeks as bid officials finalize plans for the bid book that will be handed over to the IOC on Jan. 11.
"We still have a lot of work to do to convince people that we have a good file and to convince people that there is an important legacy behind it," Grospiron said.
Grospiron also commented on Annecy's new promotional tagline "Snow, Ice and You!", saying it was a strong message that celebrated the natural elements which form the basis of every winter Olympic Games.
"Our region is made of snow and ice. This is part of our DNA and this is our invitation to the world."
Annecy 2018 will present its new venue concept in its first international presentation at the Association of National Olympic Committees general assembly in Acapulco, Mexico later this month. Rival bids from Munich and Pyeongchang are also presenting.
"Our candidature is now known by the [IOC] members. Our presentation in Acapulco is important for us and we will do our best," Grospiron added.
With reporting from Mark Bisson.
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