Special section : London Calling (2012 Olympics)

Bitterness and relief

Parisian people leaving the City Hall after the IOC announcement, the 6th of July 2005

The 6th of July is an unforgettable day for French and British people, especially the Frenchs.

That day, the International Olympic Committee and his president Jacques Rogge, chose London as host city of the 2012 Olympics. This decision was received harshly and hard to accept for the French people such the support around the Parisian bid was large and enthusiastic.

At that time, I was a 20-year-young man who had difficulties to hide his disappointment after the IOC declaration on my TV screen. For me, the Parisian dossier was the best not because I’m Parisian but it was the most completed and the most realistic. Paris 2012 was to be the accelerator allowing to all a city, a region and even a country to be modernized and show his savoir-faire in the so particular globalization framework. As Agnes Nobreca explains in the France 24 English edition, “it would have been a chance for us to improve the city’s infrastructure and welcome visitors from all over the world”.

Seven years after, the bitterness is gone and the 6th of July 2005 is now a remembrance. There even is a certain relief in some Parisians, finally happy British people organize the Olympics insofar as they are not going to pay the bill contrary to the Londoners as explains Christophe Anglard, Parisian security consultant.

Indeed, the crisis came and organizing the Olympics became another financial burden for UK which bets a lot on the event to re-launch its economy. In the meantime, the Londoners enthusiasm suddenly fell and a lot of them are still wondering on the opportunity to organize such an event even if the feast and the competition in progress should convince the last sceptic people.

That explains the relief of some Frenchs as far as the organization and the cost of the London Olympics are concerned. This relief was showed by certain indifference during the Annecy bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The campaign, discreet, received a very weak support in comparison with Pyeongchang (South Korea) which was finally chosen by the IOC in July 2011.

The crisis and three bid rejections can explain the very careful attitude of the CNOSF (the French National Olympic and Sportive Committee) and the Ayrault government vis-à-vis the probability of a new French candidacy of the Summer Olympics. In fact, the outcome of the audit ordered by Valérie Fourneyron, the current French Sports Minister, will be very expected insofar as the reasons of the Paris and Annecy failure will be analysed and explained. This audit will determine the French government vis-à-vis a new candidacy submitted to the IOC in spite of its encouragements and the recent François Hollande’s statements. The Grand Paris project might be a major asset, a basis on which might lend on the capital city and the other local powers. Nonetheless, the 2005 spirit and enthusiasm should be revived which won’t be easy because if a lot of French won’t be opposed to a new France’s candidacy, they seem to hope in the same time the report of the audit dissuade the government to make a new proposal as explains the France 24 article.

PS : here, the video promoting the Paris 2012 Olympics Bid in 2005 :