POSTED: February 15th 2010

Annecy plays to its strengths in bid to prove 2018 winner . . . . by nature

Mont Blanc: winter sports pinnacle, in more ways than one / lake images
Mont Blanc: winter sports pinnacle, in more ways than one / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

VANCOUVER, Feb 15: Annecy is emphasising the safety and security of tradition while hoping to harness the magnetic power of Olympic history in its bid to host the winter Games in 2018.

Having come out ahead of three domestic rivals in promoting its claim to the French national Olympic committee, it now has to persuade the International Olympic Committee of its superiority to Munich and PyeongChang.

Annecy ‘went public’ to the winter Games media with a line-up string in Olympic medallists, headed up by ceo Edgar Grospiron. He wasted no time playing the tradition card, saying: “We want to invite the world to a party in a world famous resort.

"We have exceptional, spectacular scenery with Mont Blanc, economic strength with one million tourists every year and so we believe that our bid is credible.”

As Olympic historians know, nearby Chamonix is now considered to have been the venue for the first winter Games in 1924, though it was not designated as such until later.

No matter, Grospiron added: “Chamonix welcomed the first winter Olympic Games and that was a starting point for the development of mountain and winter sports activities.”

New challenges

Now the region needed the Olympics back because “we have to face new challenges.” These challenges included the familiar one of youth legacy which “depend on out capacity to reinvent the 21st-century mountain . . . to improve our environment . . . and keep our traditions alive. The Olympics would allow us to succeed.”

The bid boasts two-thirds financial support from the French government, a two-cluster competitive system in the Haute-Savoie department based around Annecy and Mont Blanc, Geneva international airport only half an hour distant, the status of the Alps as the world’s leading winter sports destination and 65 per cent of facilities already in place (one major exception being a speed-skating arena).

All of Annecy’s speakers at a press conference in Vancouver ended their comments in an echoing flourish.

For Grospiron, Annecy “is Olympic by nature;” for Mayor Jean-Luc Rigaut, Annecy is “attractive by nature;” for former skiing medallist Florence Masnada, Annecy is “excellence by nature;” for French NOC presidenty Denis Masseglia, Annecy is “sporting by nature;” for ice skater Givendal Pelzerat, Annecy is “generous by nature;” and for French Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot, Annecy is “committed by nature.”

Whether the IOC is mesmerically responsive by nature will be revealed only on July 6 next year in Durban.

Keywords · Annecy · 2018 Olympic Games · Grospiron · Bachelot · Vancouver

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