Olympics 2008 News
Annecy looking like the also-ran in 2018 race
Jun 30, 2011, 15:37 GMT
Paris - Bid committee members for Annecy believe the French Alpine resort can still win the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympics ahead of strong rival bids from Munich and Pyeongchang.
The general view is that Wednesday's International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote in Durban, South Africa, will be a two-horse race between the Koreans and Germans but Annecy has made progress in recent months, especially in the areas of lobbying and funding.
Pyeongchang is looking to be successful at the third attempt and remains the favourite but not only Munich, which is bidding to become the first city to have hosted both summer and winter games, and Annecy remain in contention.
The main question mark over Annecy, however, is whether its bid has recovered from the resignation of bid chief Edgar Grospiron, who resigned last December over budgetary issues that he felt were hampering the bid effort.
Grospiron was subsequently replaced by Charles Beigbeder, who has since stated that he believes the competition to host the 2018 Winter Olympics remains a 'three-horse race'.
'We can definitely win,' said Beigbeder, who has managed to secure six new sponsorship deals with private French companies, bringing in an extra 4 million dollars.
Last year the IOC criticized the distances between venues in Annecy, leading organizers to centre the bid around the two main hubs of Annecy and nearby Chamonix.
In February of this year, the IOC Evaluation Commission acknowledged the efforts made by Annecy officials to improve their bid, congratulating the Annecy team for its new setup.
Annecy now has two thirds of its infrastructure in place and the bid is supported by IOC member Jean-Claude Killy, a three-time Olympic gold medallist in Alpine skiing.
The total cost of hosting the Olympics is put at around 5.2 billion dollars and the government of Nicolas Sarkozy is behind the bid.
However, Annecy has the difficult task of convincing the IOC to follow up on its decision to grant the Russian resort of Sochi the 2014 Games by awarding back-to-back Winter Olympic Games to Europe.
The lack of local support for the bid is also an issue. While Pyeongchang finished top of the IOC's survey of public support for the bids with 87 per cent of the city's citizens backing the games, Annecy managed just 51 per cent.
If the Annecy bid succeeds, it will be the first time that a Winter Olympics will have been held in the French Alps since Albertville 1992.
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