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SIDEBAR Paris embraces return of Olympics after 100 years

Europe, Europa
13.09.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Lima (dpa) - French president Emmanuel Macron did not need to lobby one last time for Paris 2024 but was among the first to congratulate the Olympic hosts during his visit to hurricane-Irma-stricken French territories in the Caribbean.

Macron said will put "all our energy" into preparing for the Games as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe were lit in celebration on a rainy night and train conductors in France immediately relayed the news to passengers.

Both iconic landmarks will be the backdrop of Olympic competitions in the French capital when the Olympics return to the French capital after 100 years, and for the third time overall.

"The whole country was in support of Paris 2024. We won together and for our young people," Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo told a news conference.

Bid chief Tony Estanguet agreed that "many people had been waiting for this for a very long time."

The door for Paris after several recent failed bids opened when four bidders dropped out and they and Los Angeles were the last cities standing. This led to the idea of a double awarding and while Paris remained firm on 2024 LA agreed to go for 2028.

"We invented it together and there are three winners," Hidalgo said, with the International Olympic Committee the other party involved.

"We are very proud and happy, it is such a special emotion because the Games return after 100 years."

In her excitement Hidalgo accidently said "return home" but quickly corrected herself.

Like LA, Paris is planning with more than 90 per cent of the venues existing or temporary, has huge public support and can offer Games at iconic sports locations such as the Roland Garros tennis centre and the Stade de France, apart from its landmarks.

A new athletes‘ village in Saint-Denis in what are to be compact Games with almost all venues in or close to the city, transportation is in place and Hidalgo said "we are confident in our abilities."

The City of Lights bid with the slogan "Made for Sharing" as it is ready to embrace the world and like LA focus heavily on the environment and sustainability, and with a modest budget of less than 7 billion dollars.

French Olympic Committee chief Denis Masseglia pledged the "Paris 2024 soul is drawn from athletes, its strength drawn from young athletes."

The committee has a special department named "Generation 2024 Representative" of which one French-Tunisian Youssef Halaoua was present in Lima saying "the job is to give young people a voice."

But the hard work on every aspect - in parts together with LA and including security in a city which suffered badly from the November 2015 terror attacks which left 130 people dead - only starts now.

"It‘s a new step. We have a lot to work. It‘s a new beginning," Hidalgo said.

 

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