KEIR RADNEDGE in PARIS: The IOC’s evaluation commission is accustomed to being treated as the main act in town when it flies in to run the rule over a city’s Olympic Games credibility; not this city. not this time.
Patrick Baumann and his team arrived to start work today in Paris finding themselves playing second fiddle on the diplomatic promotional stage to Emmanuel Macron’s French presidential takeover from Francois Hollande at the Elysees Palace.
The immediacy of the transition could work in Paris’s favour in the joust over whether it comes out of the joust with Los Angeles for sequential order for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics.
In a note ahead of the assessments which began this past week in California, evaluation chairman Baumann noted that his task was to “examine not only how hosting the Games would meet the needs of athletes but also how it would serve the cities’ long-term goals for social and economic development.”
Without labouring the turbulence of recent years and causes, Paris would appear to own a greater wider need for the Olympic stimulus than Los Angeles.
One late addition to the Paris team is Zinedine Zidane, two-goal hero of France’s 3-0 win over Brazil in the 1998 World Cup Final in the Stade de France which would be the main Olympic Stadium in Paris.
Zidane was a ‘winner’ with Qatar 2022 in the World Cup host bidding’ now he is in pursuit of an ambassadorial double.
A Paris 2024 statement said the evaluation committee’s three-day working visit “will provide an opportunity for members . . . to witness first hand Paris 2024’s compact Games plan and iconic venues, and experience the magic of Paris and its proposal for a spectacular city-centre celebration site: ‘Paris Olympic Park.”