International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission chair for Paris 2024, Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Pierre-Vieujant, admits that the event will be crucial in shaping the long-term future of the Olympic Games.
The Belgian official was speaking on the opening day of an IOC Orientation Seminar here in what is one of the first milestones since the French capital was awarded the Games in September.
It marks the first time in which the event has been fully open to media in what is being billed as a more “collaborative” approach between the IOC and the Organizing Committee.
Beckers spoke amid ongoing apathy across Europe surrounding bids for both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
Ensuring Paris 2024 does not undergo cost overruns and suffer questions about corruption and a lack of transparency is therefore seen as vital to convince other cities about the merits of a bid.
“It [Paris 2024] is essential, because the celebration of the Olympic Games is one of the pillars of the Olympic Movement,” said Beckers-Pierre-Vieujant.
“So it is important not just on its own merits but because it will give confidence to future cities.
“It will show that it is not an end in itself to host the Games, with lots of problems and budget issues, but, on the contrary, a successful Games can become a lever to promote sport and a better society to a given population.”
“We have full confidence.
“It is essential that it succeeds, and it will succeed.”
Beckers, an IOC member who is heading an Organizing Committee for the first time, conceded that the context today is very different from the past.
“The situation has changed and will continue to change,” he added.
“We [the Olympic Movement] have to adapt to time – it is a question of survival.
“In business, we see companies that were huge leaders which went bankrupt because they were blind and arrogant and did not question themselves.”
He cited additional sports and appealing to young people as particular priorities as well as using the Olympics to be “a driver for something else”.
“If we look back to 60 years ago, we look at Games built just for the sake of the event.
“Now it is very different.”
Paris was awarded the 2024 Games uncontested on September 13 at the IOC Session in Lima as part of a joint-awarding at which Los Angeles received the 2028 hosting rights.
A major early challenge now concerns finalizing personnel to join Organizing Committee chairman Tony Estanguet.
Tomorrow will mark a deadline for candidates to express interest in the post of chief executive.
It is hoped a figure will be appointed next month in a process spearheaded by executive search firm Odgers Berndtson.
Bid-time chief executive Etienne Thobois has confirmed his intention to stand and is considered the favorite at this stage.
Reservations have been reported, however, from figures including Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
Other names mentioned in connection with potentially standing include Jean-Claude Blanc, the general manager of football club Paris Saint-Germain and sales and marketing director for Albertville 1992, as well as François Banon, the former vice-president of Disneyland Paris.
“The idea was, first, to work on the process and establishing the Organizing Committee,” Estanguet explained.
“This step now is really in good shape and we are really confident that we can create the Organizing Committee in the early days of January.
“We have to build a team and the idea is to get a choice as chief executive before the end of the year.
“We have a meeting on December 21 and my goal is to have chosen the chief executive chosen before this date.
“Etienne is one of the candidates and is a good candidate, but we want to make sure it is the best choice.”
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.