The French Alps, the only candidacy accepted by the IOC for the 2030 Winter Olympic Games

What if after Paris 2024, France hosted the 2030 Winter Olympics? The International Olympic Committee has entered into a “ targeted dialogue » with France and only France, meaning that only this application was accepted, we learned this Wednesday, November 29. A turnaround in the situation seems unlikely.

Published on: 11/29/2023 – 6:26 p.m.

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The French Alps’ candidacy for the organization of the Winter Olympics in 2030 took an important step on Wednesday, at the expense of Switzerland and Sweden, by entering alone in ” targeted dialogue » with the IOC, who will designate the host next year. By this decision of the IOC Executive Board meeting in Paris, France moves from “ interested party ” has ” prospective host » of the competition, even though Paris will already host the Summer Olympics in eight months.

The French Alps, which launched their candidacy last summer at the same time as Switzerland – Sweden having been in the running since February – must now go through several months of detailed evaluation of their file. From the site map to the planned legacy, environmental impact, funding and political support.

The project, which ensures that it is based on 95% of existing sites, extends from Nice to Grand Bornand, nearly 500 km apart, with an alpine ski center on the sites of Courchevel-Méribel and Val d’Isère, the cross-country skiing in La Clusaz, and an Olympic village based in Nice, as are the skating events.

An unlikely rejection of an application

If the IOC executive considers the French guarantees sufficient, it will recommend its designation as host of the 2030 Olympics during a session next year. Conversely, if the French file is considered disappointing, the Olympic body can send the candidacy back to ” dialogue permanent “, that is to say starting the procedure from scratch. However, this hypothesis is unlikely with less than seven years to go before the competition.

This new procedure, which turns its back on the traditional votes followed around the world to decide between candidates, has only been used once, to award the 2032 Olympics to the Australian city of Brisbane in 2021. It aims to drastically reduce application costs (by 80%, according to the IOC), to avoid the public slap of a negative vote for losers, and to maintain a permanent pool of potential candidates: Sweden, already a candidate for the Olympics. 2026 allocated to Milan-Cortina, and Switzerland, also interested in the 2034 edition, are thus invited to further work on their files.

The project supported by the two regions Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and endorsed by the Elysée this summer, successfully passed the obligatory milestones relating to the agenda set by the Olympic administration. Namely, the file submitted on time on November 7, and a thirty-minute grand oral on the 21st, in front of the members of the dedicated IOC commission, with the Minister of Sports, accompanied by the two regional presidents, Renaud Muselier, Laurent Wauquiez, and the president of the French Olympic committee David Lappartient.

«There may be an uprising »

However, she did not only have support. Environmental federations EELV had notably denounced this summer “ a presidential guarantee which would go against zero net artificialization laws and which would make fun of water shortages, the Olympics leading to a phenomenal acceleration in the concreting of our beautiful mountains ».

The question of snow cover, which is weakening from year to year, as well as that of the paradox of investing massively in winter sports in the midst of global warming, are regularly raised by opponents. “ We left for seven years of fighting and we won’t give up », Reacted to AFP Stéphane Passeron, member of the No-JO collective and former high-level cross-country skier.

« There will be problems, there may be an uprising. We can’t be in Dubai at the same time (COP 28, editor’s note), to say that the world is collapsing and to do that without any consultation, to make a decision in six months which commits the economy of the Alps for thirty years, that is not possible. It’s horrible », insisted Mr. Passeron.

(With AFP)


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