France bids for 2018 Olympics
Grenoble, Annecy and Nice will compete with other international cities to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.25 September 2008
PARIS -- France, which failed to win the right to host the 2012 summer Olympics in Paris, launched a bid to host the 2018 winter Olympics on Wednesday with the hope of a renewed summer bid.
Henri Serandour, president of the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF), said Wednesday: "After the failure in July 2005 in getting the 2012 Games, we had to rebound and stay in this dynamic by defining new goals.
"Olympic ambition has been very marked since then with great desire for candidacy for the Summer Games.
"We have long thought that a bid to host the Winter Olympics would be a good break from the Summer Games", he said, adding that "to be a candidate in 2018 offers a good chance to get the Summer Olympics at a future date".
The International Olympic Committee will choose the host city for the 2018 Games in July 2011.
The cities of Grenoble, Annecy and Nice already stated their plan to bid to host the Games with the winner to be announced in March 2009.
Munich and Denver are also serious candidates for the 2018 event, though Serandour diminished a possible new failed bid following that of 2005.
"I think it is better to be a candidate, even one that fails, than to be completely absent", added Serandour, who said he wanted to learn from past mistakes.
"We have to be more dynamic and this is an aspect that I have neglected a little during my mandates. The French sporting movement needs to show renewed strength in international relations".
France hosted three Winter Games in the past, in 1992 in Albertville, in 1968 in Grenoble, and in Chamonix in 1924, but missed out on its bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, won by London.
Grenoble, which hosted the games in 1968, looks in a good position though it is rare for the same city to organise the games twice.
The mayor of Grenoble, Michel Destot, said the town would emphasize its strong Olympic history with the hope of being nominated as hosts next year.
"Grenoble has a strong Olympic past", Destot said. "It hosted the 10th winter Olympics in 1968 and has retained its faith in the Games. The decision of the CNOSF was not a big surprise but very good news that we had been hoping for for the last two years".
Grenoble's bid will be officially approved at a meeting on 6 October.
Serandour added that none of the three bidding host cities could take anything for granted.
"If what we are looking for does not correspond with the cities' dossier, we could very well say 'no'", said Serandour, who added the same system used by the International Olympic Committee for selecting candidates would be used by the CNOSF.
The study of the bid documents will be done by international experts with resulting costs of up to EUR 100,000 to be covered by the bidding cities.
With this decision to bid for the 2018 winter games, Serandour wanted to keep strong contacts with the IOC following controversy with the passing of the Olympic flame in Paris in April 2008, and by France's position on human rights on the run-up to last month's Beijing summer Games.
"It's good to show our link with Olympism and to not speculate on what people think of us as our involvement in the Olympic movement has always been very, very strong", Serandour continued.
[AFP / Expatica]