POSTED: September 8th 2015

Olympics: The Paris 2024 bid names Mediterranean port city Marseille as their proposed sailing destination

Marseille is known the world over as a famous port city and is the second most populated city in France / Paris 2024
Marseille is known the world over as a famous port city and is the second most populated city in France / Paris 2024

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The ancient French port city of Marseille has received the nod by the Paris 2024 bid team as the chosen location to host sailing competitions should they win the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) vote to stage the Summer Games.

"I would like to congratulate Marseille on their selection as the possible venue for Sailing if Paris has the honour of hosting the Games in 2024," said Bernard Lapasset, President of Paris 2024. "The city was chosen after a rigorous review process and Marseille presented a first class project that showed they have the high-level technical experience and expertise to deliver a fantastic Olympic Sailing event. My thanks also go out to the other bidders who all submitted excellent applications. 

"Paris 2024 believes that Olympic Sailing in Marseille would be a truly wonderful occasion for athletes, Sailing and general sports fans, the Olympic Family and for the millions of television and online viewers across world who can tune in to see world class sailing action in front of a beautiful Mediterranean backdrop. We want to help accelerate the growth of Sailing around France and the rest of the world and we think the dynamic setting in Marseille will produce excellent sporting action that will help to achieve this ambition."

The board members of Paris 2024 decided on Marseille based on analysis conducted by an evaluation committee comprising representatives from the French Sailing Federation, a delegation of sailing athletes, members of the French National Olympic Committee and additional Sailing technical experts.

Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône) was in the running against Le Havre (Seine-Maritime); La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime); Brest (Finistère); Hyères (Var); and Quiberon (Morbihan).

Site visits were carried out to each destination, and they were reviewed against set sporting, technical, economic, tourism and sustainability criteria.

Tony Estanguet, IOC Member in France and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, added on the selection, "The aim for Paris 2024 is to create a winning campaign and the choice of Marseille as the proposed Olympic Sailing venue strengthens the bid.

"Marseille would be a fantastic setting for the Olympic Sailing action and the venue meets all of the necessary criteria to ensure that the stage is set for the athletes to deliver first-class performances during what would be a showcase moment should Paris be selected to host the Games in 2024."

 According to a statement by the bid team Marseille fit their expectations for a series of reasons:

*  The region's world-renowned marine environment and its iconic, beautiful setting that would provide ideal conditions for competitive Sailing and create stunning sporting images for live and broadcast audiences;

* The city's extensive experience hosting major international events;

* The accessibility of the area which would make it easy to reach for sailing fans from across France and international destinations;

* Proposing an innovative and technically excellent event plan with a compact venue concept that will minimize infrastructure and operational costs - in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms that seek to reduce Games budgets;

* The accommodation capacity in Marseille and the surrounding regions;

* The opportunity to spread the proposed 2024 Games venues to differing regions of France to fully engage Olympic fans in every part of the country and the significant international tourist population who visit Marseille;

* The spectacular spectator experience sailing fans would enjoy on the coastline as the public will be very close to the sporting action - a key requirement set out by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) for major Sailing events.

The idea to used Marseille also came from a legacy plan to renovate and extend the Roucas Blanc marina and to boost growth and appeal of the sport by raising live attendance and TV figures and creating new Sailing fans and participants.

The city is also committed to hosting future major nautical events and it will establish an international sailing center where national teams from emerging Sailing nations are invited for athlete, coaching and referee training sessions. The center will have state-of-the-art equipment and bespoke training programs - in partnership with ISAF and the French Sailing Federation.

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-five years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.

Keywords · Olympics · Paris 2024

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