PARIS (AP) - With existing infrastructure at the heart of the project, leaders of the Paris bid for the 2024 Olympics are promising limited spending and long-lasting benefits if the French capital is chosen to host the games.
At a presentation Wednesday at Paris’ Philarmony concert hall attended by Prime Minister Manuel Valls and more than 300 athletes, Paris officials said they could offer a “new era” for the Olympics with a plan that involves 95 percent existing or temporary venues.
The Stade de France, a new cycling track on the outskirts of Paris, the Roland Garros tennis stadium and many Parisian landmarks including the Grand Palais and Champ de Mars will be used if Paris gets the games.
More than 70 percent of the venues are existing facilities, with a further 25 percent being temporary structures. The main construction requirements for the bid include an aquatics center close to the Stade de France, a new indoor arena in the southern Bercy neighborhood, the Olympic village and media center.
Paris, which hosted the Olympics in 1900 and 1924, is competing against Rome, Los Angeles and Budapest, Hungary. The International Olympic Committee will choose the host city in September 2017.
“Paris, as one of the world’s most iconic and cosmopolitan cities, would provide a unique and stunning backdrop for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games through its historic landmarks and breathtaking venues,” bid co-chairman Bernard Lapasset said.
The road cycling races would finish at the Arc de Triomphe, with equestrian events held next to the Versailles Castle and beach volleyball at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
The infrastructure budget for the games is expected to total 3 billion euros ($4.5 billion), with operational costs of 3.2 billion euros ($4.8 billion).
“Our institutions have been working seamlessly together for many months. Be assured that Paris 2024 has the strong and certain commitment of the city of Paris and of the whole country, its government and its people,” Valls said.
The prime minister noted that Paris was the birthplace of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, and the city hopes to hold the games again exactly a century after it last played host.
Paris leaders also announced the slogan for the bid: “The strength of a dream.”
A total of 36 sports venues would be clustered in two main zones - downtown Paris and the northern suburbs of Saint-Denis.
The athletes village would be located in the district of Seine-Saint-Denis, guaranteeing that 85 percent of the athletes will be able to reach their competition venues in less than 25 minutes because the Olympic stadium and aquatics center would be within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of the proposed village. The media center will be located at Le Bourget convention center, which recently hosted COP 21 meetings.
Paris officials are also promising there won’t be any white elephants and that 100 percent of the venues will have a real legacy.
Olympic judo champion Teddy Riner drew cheers when he took the stage.
In a clear reference to the city’s past failed bids, he said: “I have fallen down many times, but I have always gotten back up. And I’ve learned how to make people fall.”
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