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Emmanuel Macron, a New Olympic Player

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French President-elect Emmanuel Macron has spoken with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach to express his "absolute support" for Paris' bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Photo: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

The IOC Evaluation Commission was lucky in Paris. Patrick Baumann, its Chairman, and the members of his team met two French Presidents in two days: Nicolas Sarkozy, the former President, at a cocktail party on Sunday night and Emmanuel Macron, the new President, who invited the commission and the Paris 2024 leaders for a breakfast at the Elysée Palace on Tuesday morning despite his hectic schedule as he’s forming the new government with his Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe.

During the meeting, Mr. Macron pledged to travel to Lausanne for the IOC Technical Briefing on July 11. However, his presence in Lima for the IOC Session where the Games are due to be awarded, on September 13, is not guaranteed for the moment contrary to what had been said, by Bernard Lapasset, co-chairman of the bid, and Guy Drut, IOC member, when they left the Elysée Palace.

After the two IOC visits, it is now very clear – if it was not obvious from the start: the confrontation between Los Angeles and Paris is a binary opposition with two radically different visions. One, in California, is all about private funding. The other one, in France, looks more than ever as a government-related project as shown by the powerful involvement of Emmanuel Macron emphasized by his decision to travel to Lausanne in July.

Photo: LA 2024/Paris 2024

During the final press conference, the words of Patrick Baumann have been carefully listened to and, as anticipated, he praised the bid: “There is a very strong link between Paris’ history, the Olympics history and their will to host the games again after those of 1924,” he said, admitting that Paris, like Los Angeles, has the capacity to host the Games. “Both cities have the Olympic tradition, both cities have the venues we need, both cities have very dedicated and motivated teams that want to lead that,” he declared. But Baumann added: “Both cities are different.”

We’ll see some differences on July 5 when the Baumann’s commission will publish reports on both bids knowing that, in June, the IOC will provide the results of its IOC vice presidents’ study on whether to award both the 2024 and 2028 Games in Lima. For many, it is certain that the IOC will make that move in Peru where there shouldn’t be any loser including the 2028 city. It remains to be seen what will be the magic formula to please the non- loser.

By Yannick Cochennec for the Sport Intern

This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.

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