Paris 2024 Presses On With Plan A, but Studies Tokyo’s Plan B
TOKYO – Tony Estanguet wants to talk about how the next Olympic Games, in Paris in 2024, will be a time of paradigm shift for an event that has been criticized for having become too bloated, too expensive, too expensive for the citizens of the places where the quadrennial sports jamboree lands.
Estanguet wants to talk about sustainability plans, how 95 percent of sites are already built and how measures are in place to ensure that the budget of 7.5 billion euros ($ 8.8 billion ) for the Games will not swell as the event approaches, as the Olympic budgets did. a tendency to do.
But all this must wait. The first task of Estanguet, the chairman of the organizing committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, is to determine how to plan an event whose preparations are likely to be affected by a pandemic now well into its second year. Estanguet brought dozens of staff to Japan to observe the organizers of the Tokyo Games – perhaps the most complicated and weirdest Olympics in history – and to learn how to put together a layered plan and to rewrite it on the fly.
“Nobody knows what will happen with this pandemic,” said Estanguet, three-time Olympic canoe slalom champion, “so we have to be prepared for any type of scenario”.
At the Tokyo Games, he and his colleagues visited stadiums and arenas where some of the world’s best athletes performed without spectators. He met with some officials to discuss the intricacies of biosecurity, then sat down with others to learn more about the successes – and failures – of bubble environments.
“The learning here is that it is possible to organize the Games even with this kind of situation,” said Estanguet. “So we are here to learn. “
Estanguet said Parisian officials would stay in Tokyo for further talks after the Games ended on Sunday, and then carry out the same type of observation program with the organizers of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, where movement restrictions and health protocols are likely to be even stricter than they have been in Tokyo.
However, Estanguet remains hopeful that the coronavirus pandemic will be something for the history books when the Summer Games arrive in France.
“We will look at whatever measures they put in place here, but we are still working on our Plan A,” he said. “I want my team to be at the best level first with plan A.”
This plan is firmly underway. A sponsorship objective of one billion euros has just passed halfway and the keen interest of both French President Emmanuel Macron and the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has already made it possible to remove administrative obstacles.
Macron, known to be a sports fan, was a visible presence for the first part of the Tokyo Games, jumping from place to place. Hidalgo will be the representative of Paris at the closing ceremony.
“We are counting on our ability to really involve them all,” Estanguet said.
Estanguet stressed that the government had adopted a strategy – built around the Olympics – which requires for the first time that every primary school in France devotes 30 minutes a day to physical activity. This, Estanguet said, was an example of the benefits of the Games, already in place three years before the opening ceremony.
Such legacies have been promised by hosts before, of course, to die out shortly after the Olympic flame has gone out. Instead, the Games were often followed by recrimination over costs and stories of expensive venues that fell into disuse. Estanguet declined to predict whether Paris would keep its own high promises, but said the conditions were in place to do so.
“I can tell you that we have government control of our budget every year, and so far we are still operating with the same budget,” he said. “So I can’t guarantee you, but everything is set up for this new model.”
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