An IOC technical visit to the French Alps – Sport & Society

2024-01-10 20:51:35

A little over a month after the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to continue discussions with the candidacy of the French Alps with a view to awarding the 2030 Winter Games, experts from the Lausanne institution ( Switzerland) are currently present in France to inspect part of the proposed sites.

Adrien Théaux during the Downhill event of the Méribel-Courchevel 2023 World Championships, February 10, 2023 (Credits – Patrick Pachod / Courchevel Tourisme)

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Adrien Théaux during the Downhill event of the Méribel-Courchevel 2023 World Championships, February 10, 2023 (Credits – Patrick Pachod / Courchevel Tourisme)

Juntil January 11 inclusive, an Olympic delegation made up of four members is crisscrossing the field to cover the infrastructures proposed for hosting the 2030 Olympicswith the notable exception of Nice (Alpes-Maritimes) for the ice cream division.

For three days, the Olympic experts – accompanied by representatives of the French project – set about studying the logistical feasibility of a concept imagined straddling two regional territoriesAuvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, combining in fact the Northern Alps and the Southern Alps.

This technical visit foreshadows that of the IOC Future Host Commission which will visit France in the spring of 2024 – between the end of March and the beginning of April – and which will be followed by the leaders of the candidacy, including the Presidents of the two aforementioned regions. , Laurent Wauquiez for the first and Renaud Muselier for the second.

The inspections carried out this week should perhaps make it possible to respond – at least in part – to the turmoil caused in the first days following the invitation to targeted dialogue formulated by the IOC.

As a reminder, the initial mapping of the French Alps file provided for the integration of Val d’Isère (Savoie) within the system for the specific organization of women’s and men’s alpine ski slaloms, as well as the resort of Isola 2000 (Alpes-Maritimes) for ski cross and snowboardcross.

However, from December 1, 2023, the project leaders had begun the forced withdrawal of the two sites, to follow the IOC’s recommendations relating to optimization and the search for reduction in the number of sites to be mobilized at the time of the Games.

The sudden revision of the project did not fail to arouse protest from local forces, as well as the incomprehension of the legend of alpine skiing, triple Olympic Champion during the 1968 Grenoble Games and honorary member of the IOC, Jean-Claude Killy .

The latter had notably stated through a press release :

I am saddened and scandalized by the peremptory decision to withdraw Val d’Isère from the 2030 Olympics.

We have thus thrown away an entire section of the history of ski racing without analysis, without consultation and without rational basis.

[Val d’Isère devrait rester sur la carte compte-tenu] of the excellence of its slopes and its infrastructures, all existing and well-established, its organizational expertise, its strong history and its passion for ski racing and Olympism.

It remains to be seen whether the position taken by the man who for years was a major player in the Lausanne institution, whose speech – rare – remains listened to, will contribute or not to a possible return to the forefront of Val of Isère.

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