POSTED: February 11th 2011

No place like home says Masnada in plea to IOC over 2018 Olympics

Florence Masnada speaking up for Annecy / lake images
Florence Masnada speaking up for Annecy / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE in Chamonix / Sports Features Communications

CHAMONIX, Feb 11: Annecy has around 600 champions from across the spectrum of French sport supporting its bid to bring the 2018 Winter Olympic Games back to the spectacular Alpine context.

But it’s the country’s winter sports heritage which, ideally, should ring a chord of approval with the IOC according to Florence Masnada.

The double Olympic bronze medal-winning skier is one of those champions most engaged in talking up the value of what is very much a home bid, having been born in Grenoble and making a medal-winning Games debut in nearby Albertville in 1992.

“It’s time,” says Masnada, “that the Winter Olympics came back to where it began, in the heart of the mountains.”

The 11-strong evaluation commission of the International Olympic Committee, which has been studying the bid at close quarters this week, will have been struck by the location every morning when they opened their hotel curtains.

Administrative pragmatism

Chamonix, Annecy’s partner hub, was host to what were later designated as the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

More recently, pragmatic concerns for accommodation, transport, technology and organisational and administrative convenience, have led to the IOC to the ‘city centre’ concept such as Turin in 2006 and Vancouver last year and as proposed by Munich, one of Annecy’s 2018 rivals along with South Korea’s Pyeongchang.

Masnada – whose own sports career has evolved through television and media work on behalf of the French NOC - believes a vote for Annecy in Durban on July 6 would be a vote for an evolving new era for winter sports in general.

She says: “This is where it began for the Winter Olympics so coming back here, to help create a ‘new mountain’ for the 21st century, would be acknowledging the Olympics’ own legacy.”

Deneriaz support

The heritage factor also ‘works’ for Antoine Deneriaz, downhill gold medallist in Turin. He grew up just a mile from the historic ‘Green’ track at Les Houches which would host the Alpine events and where he rebuilt his fitness, confidence and career to golden effect after serious injury in 2005.

Deneriaz says: “This is the right place for the Olympics because, for the Alpine skiers, it is the ultimate challenge. I can just imagine the goosebumps as each competitor, in turn, stands at the top of the course looking all the way straight down into the town of Chamonix before the race of his life. . .

“This is what Olympic competition is all about.”

Keywords · 2018 Winter Olympics · Masnada · Deneriaz · IOC · evaluation commission · Annecy · Chamonix · Les Houches

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