POSTED: October 5th 2010

Annecy 2018: Grospiron confident that lessons have been learned

New Annecy bid plan sees a more compact concept / Annecy 2018
New Annecy bid plan sees a more compact concept / Annecy 2018

Annecy official signature / Annecy 2018
Annecy official signature / Annecy 2018

JOHN GOODBODY / Sports Features Communications

LONDON, Oct 4: London’s victory, against strong odds, to get the 2012 Summer Olympics has had a striking effect on the bidding strategy for cities seeking future Games. None more so than Annecy, one of the three  candidates for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

It has digested the lessons learned from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Singapore in 2005, when another French city, Paris, was so narrowly beaten by London.

London put former international competitors at the heart of its bid, which was led by Sebastian Coe, the most celebrated middle-distance runner of his generation. Annecy has another Olympic champion, Edgar Grospiron, as its ceo, a man planning to be as adept in organising the administrative intricacies of staging the Games, as he once was in freestyle skiing, in which he became the first-ever Olympic moguls champion in 1992.

Other members of Annecy’s ‘Team of Champions’ include Antoine Deneriaz, the 2006 Olympic Downhill Champion, Florence Masnada, a double Olympic skiing medallist and world champion, and also Denis Barbet, the slalom winner in the Paralympics - another indication of how Annecy has learnt the lesson of bids of earlier cities by ensuring that disabled competitors now have an increasingly prominent place in getting the Games.

Inclusion is important in life, sport – and securing votes. And, most important of all, so is the need for adaptability.

Compact concept

In May 2004, London was told by the IOC’s working party report that it should make its bid more compact and also work on improving its infrastructure. And it did so. Now Annecy has accepted the criticisms made last June by the IOC to alter its bid and today it announced new plans.

As Grospiron said: "The IOC pointed out that our project was spread out and was going to lead to logistical complications, damaging the comfort of athletes and  clients.”

The IOC was unhappy with 10 stand-alone venues, two Athletes Villages and three further centres for competitors, believing this increased security risks.

Grospiron said In Paris today that the bidding committee had “restarted at zero,”adding that this was “an enormous pressure, a fabulous challenge.” All the French governing bodies for the Winter Games were consulted and he now believes that the Annecy bid is  “very competitive” against its rivals, PyeongChang and Munich.

It is now organised round two main bases – Annecy itself and Chamonix Mont-Blanc, with all the Olympic events taking place within a 33km radius. They are connected by a direct motorway link and the ‘Olympic train.’ Both centres will host snow and ice events, thus providing spectators at the two venues a variety of the Olympic disciplines.

Savoy is renowned for being a centre of winter sports, close to the borders of both Switzerland and Italy, and with some of the most celebrated ski-ing resorts in the world, while its tradition is renowned. Chamonix was the venue for the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

Just as London changed direction in 2004 to achieve its ultimate victory, so Annecy is similarly hoping to come through to get the Games when the IOC is balloted on July 6, 2011.

Keywords · Annecy 2018 · Edgar Grospiron · Olympic bidding

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