France downsizes Annecy plan to woo Olympic officials

Guangzhou :France will present a more compact venue plan in their 2018 Annecy Winter Games bid to woo Olympic officials after the initial concept was deemed too unwieldy, bid chief Edgar Grospiron said on Friday.

Annecy`s overall concept was marked lower than rival bids from Germany`s Munich and South Korea`s Pyeongchang during shortlisting by the IOC earlier this year.

"The comment from the IOC was that it was a little bit too spread out, we had too many ski resorts," Grospiron, a triple alpine ski champion at the 1986 Grenoble Winter Games, told to reporters.

"Since four months we are working on the new concept and the situation is more and more complex.

"After you move the venues you have to fix a new transportation plan and then to have all the security plans and everything, so our team has been working really hard right now on fixing all that."

Grospiron would present the bid to officials in Guangzhou, where National Olympic Committees from 45 countries have gathered for the Asian Games which open on Friday.

"What they are looking for is a strong concept that fits the athletes... Now the new concept puts 80 percent of the athletes less than 10 minutes from the venues."

Munich`s bid, centred on the resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the nearby Alps, has struggled to get endorsement from environmental groups and has been bogged down in a dispute with local landholders over the use of plots for the event.

Annecy`s original bid had raised similar concerns from local stakeholders but the revamped plan had set minds at ease, Grospiron said.

"It was the case when we had the previous concept, but now we have taken better care of the expectations of the landholders, farmers and mountaineers... now they say the environmental assets are really interesting and they make the mountain (Mt. Blanc) more in harmony."

The 16 million euro bid had also been backed by the French government, with private companies kicking in one third of the costs, but more work would be required to sell the bid to IOC members ahead of the vote on July 6 next year, Grospiron said.

Persuading athletes of the bid`s merits would be a much easier sell, however, with the venue highlighted by the dramatic backdrop of the French Alps with Mt. Blanc the centrepiece.

"If you are Olympic champion on the slopes of Mt. Blanc it is something kind of magical," Grospiron said.

The Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi will host the 2014 Games.

Bureau Report

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