2024 Olympics race takes on geo-political dimension as France cosies up to China
The race to host the 2024 Olympic Games took on a geo-political dimension yesterday when Patrick Kanner, France’s sports minister, offered Beijing 2022, the organising committee for the winter Olympics in that year, the benefit of France’s major sports event hosting experience during a visit to the Chinese capital.
Paris is vying with Budapest and Los Angeles to host the Olympics in 2024.
Kanner said: “France would love to share its experience of hosting sports events with China as both countries are major sports powers.
“I have been to Zhangjiakou [co-host city of the 2022 Winter Olympics] in 2015 and witnessed a series of deals on mountain sports cooperation between China and France. Chinese vice premier Liu Yandong’s French visit last July further strengthened Sino-French football exchange by signing a deep cooperation agreement.”
Kanner is on a three-day visit to China to promote the sports partnership and sign a new round of agreements on mountain sports.
Laurent Wauquiez, president of the Regional Council of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in France, said: “We believe that, to win the 2024 Olympics bidding, first things first, we need to have a good partnership with Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
“France has successfully held winter Olympic Games three times and we are very ready to offer our experiences and resources to help Beijing. Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is the world's largest skiing district and owns unique skiing resources. We are looking forward to becoming China's biggest skiing partnership.”
Meanwhile, France’s Académie Française, the famously reactionary guardian of the French language, has reacted predictably to Paris 2024’s decision to launch its bid slogan in English two weeks ago, likening the slogan, ‘Made for Sharing’, to a pizza promotion.
The Académie Française said that it “disapproved” of the slogan, claiming “it has already been used in other publicity campaigns... notably for pizzas to share.”
The bid also launched a French version of the slogan, ‘Venez partager’, but the Académie Française said that it “unanimously expresses its disapproval of the decision to give priority to the English language to promote the Paris Olympic bid,” adding that “the official languages of the International Olympic Committee are French and English – in that order.”
The International Olympic Committee is due to select the 2024 Olympics host city in September.