The greater Paris area is investing in new and upgraded sports facilities with a view to bidding to host the 2024 Olympics, according to the president of the Ile-de-France region.
Jean-Paul Huchon, a former sports minister, told French media that if France’s Olympic council were supportive then the current investment in sports infrastructure in the area would serve as a basis for an Olympic host bid.
The Ile-de-France region, which consists of Paris and its surrounding administrative départements (or counties), is currently building Olympic-standard canoe and kayak facilities at l’île de Vaires-Torcy, a velodrome at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, and an aquatic centre at Auberviliers that is envisaged to host the French national swimming championships in 2016. No site has been suggested yet for the main Olympic stadium of such a bid.
Paris lost out to London in the race to host the 2012 Olympics – a defeat that came as a shock to a French public and establishment who seemed confident of victory. In that bid, the proposed Olympic stadium was the current Stade de France to the north of the city. Paris was also unsuccessful in its bid to host the 1992 Games, which went to Barcelona, and the 2008 Games eventually hosted by Beijing.
2024 is the centenary of the last time Paris hosted the Games, notable for the exploits of Finnish long-distance runner Paavo Nurmi and the ‘Chariots of Fire’ British sprinters Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell. The 1924 stadium in the suburb of Colombes is still used by French rugby side Racing Metro.
Other cities that have expressed a strong interest in hosting the 2024 Games include Toronto, Casablanca and Kiev. Before that, Rio de Janeiro will stage the 2016 Olympics while Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo are the three shortlisted candidates as 2020 hosts.
A decision on which city will host the 2024 Olympics is expected to be announced by the International Olympic Committee in 2017.