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  • Annecy 2018 "Back in the Race"-ATR on the Scene


    "We are a good team with a good proposition,” says French IOC member Jean-Claude Killy. (ATR)
    (ATR) Annecy 2018 leaders and IOC members say the French bid has left its troubles behind and has a real chance of winning the race for the Winter Games.

    "We are on a par with the others [Munich and PyeongChang]," IOC member from France Jean-Claude Killy told reporters after Annecy's pitch to IOC members in Lausanne Wednesday.

    "We are a good team with a good proposition. We think we have nothing to envy in the propositions of the other bids."

    Killy, who was part of the Annecy presentation team, claimed the French bid had raised its game in the three-cities battle for the Games, dismissing any suggestion that it was lagging behind its rivals.

    "I don't think it is the case any more," said the triple Olympic champion downhiller.

    Annecy was the second presenter in the series of briefings conducted Wednesday at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne with about 90 IOC members in attendance. Munich went first, PyeongChang is last.

    Each had 45 minutes to present their bids to the members and up to 45 minutes for questions from IOC members.

    Killy was part of the French bid's presentation team that included sports minister Chantal Jouanno, CEO Charles Beigbeder, IOC member Guy Drut, vice presidents Pernilla Wiberg and Jean-Pierre Vidal, Annecy Mayor Jean-Luc Rigaut and Denis Masseglia, president of the French National Olympic committee.
    French sports minister Chantal Jouanno, IOC member Prince Feisal of Jordan, Annecy consultant Andrew Craig and CEO Charles Beigbeder. (ATR)

    Annecy received around 10 questions from IOC members, a few more than Munich. They covered the major concerns around the bid, travel times between venues for different client groups and the spread-out accommodation plan highlighted as IOC concerns, as well as security and several other technical elements, Killy confirmed.

    "We were able to answer the questions with ease," he said.

    "I think the program today is well-defined and the proposition is a good one."

    Beigbeder says the plan to use four Olympic Villages is something that Annecy cannot avoid.

    “Our bid city is a mountain city. It creates some operational issues but is perfectly manageable. There is no strategic risk, financial risk in this bid,” he says.

    According to Killy, there were no specific questions about the IOC's public opinion poll in December, which put support for Annecy at just 51 percent. This poll coincided with the departure of CEO Edgar Grospiron and financing issues for the bid.

    But Killy claimed it was now around 65 percent. "This reflects the quality of the bid. The bid is now mature," he said.

    Denis Oswald, IOC member from Switzerland, told reporters: "My feeling a few months ago was they were far behind and now they are part of the group.

    "They have their chance like the other two."

    Oswald said Annecy's presentation to the IOC membership Wednesday was "a bit more innovative than Munich, which was very classic and precise. It was more original in the way they presented [the bid concepts]". His comments referred to the technical aspects of the bid shown in a film to members.

    A small group of anti-Olympics protestors unfurled a banner outside the Olympic Museum ahead of the presentations today.
    "I think they have definitely raised their game,” says IOC member from Ireland Patrick Hickey. (ATR)

    Asked if the Annecy protests were a cause for IOC concern, Oswald shrugged and said: "You can never make everybody happy. I remember with Seoul there were a group of protestors and in Munich there are a few people. I would not pay much attention to that."

    European Olympic Committees president Pat Hickey told ATR that Annecy had delivered an excellent presentation.

    "I think they have definitely raised their game. They are getting much more into the spirit of the Games and it was a great addition for them to have Jean-Claude Killy on the podium."

    Hickey, IOC member for Ireland, said he thought the travel times between venues, noted in the 2018 evaluation report as a concern, were not something that should detract from the bid.

    He said it was "part and parcel of the Winter Games", recalling the lengthy travel times for athletes, officials and media at Olympics in Albertville and Torino.

    Hickey described the bid cities briefing Wednesday and Thursday as "immensely important" in the bid race that concludes with the IOC vote in Durban on July 6.

    "Look what happened with Rio [at a 2009 bid cities briefing to IOC members]. They came in not as favorites and gave themselves a good boost and went on to win," he added.
    Annecy was the only bid with protestors in Lausanne. (ATR)

    Annecy, Munich and PyeongChang have another chance to talk to IOC members on Thursday in one-on-one sessions with members at designated exhibit space in the Lausanne Palace Hotel.

    Written and reported in Lausanne by Mark Bisson and Ed Hula.

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