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France/Annecy 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics bid

Published on February 11, 2011
Annecy 2018’s bid for Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games – Statement by François Fillon, Prime Minister

Paris, February 8, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’ve just received the International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission in Veyrier-du-Lac. And let me tell you I was determined to convince them, and to secure victory for our cause. I was surrounded by legends of the mountains and the Olympic movement: Jean-Claude Killy, Guy Drut, Michel Vion, Pernilla Wiberg and many more besides.

I was keen to be there with Chantal Jouanno for the Evaluation Commission’s arrival, because for me it was the best way of demonstrating the total support of the State and – if they will allow me – the local authorities for Annecy 2018’s bid.

This support isn’t solely institutional. What I want to say tonight is that the whole of France is behind Charles Beigbeder and the Annecy 2018 team, the sportsmen and women, experts, technicians, local elected representatives and companies who have chosen to do their bit for this venture.

The bid we’re presenting is of great technical quality. It’s based on two legendary focal points – Chamonix and Annecy – with hugely authentic locations, an Alpine heritage and exceptional climatic conditions. In short, we have everything needed to host an extraordinary Winter Games.

I’ve just reiterated the major pillars of our bid. It’s a compact project, designed by and for sportsmen and women, on the basis of sustainable development and legacy. I’ve also reiterated our determination to establish a real partnership, a relationship of trust with the International Olympic Committee, to set in motion what is ultimately the key thing for us: the Olympic ideal.

We’re confident of having some of the most competitive facilities to serve this ideal. But beyond our facilities, we also – and above all – have human assets. I think we can say without hesitation that, here in these valleys, everyone is born with skis or skates on their feet. And everyone has a deep and heartfelt relationship with the mountains.

We have the resources to organize a magnificent sporting festival. In terms of reception, the world’s top winter sports destination no longer has anything to prove: its professionalism is well known. Olympic and Paralympic athletes, officials and spectators are eagerly awaited here. Here, in Annecy and Chamonix, the values of sport and the Olympic movement will be honoured and celebrated with unique splendour.

Everyone remembers that, less than a century ago, the first Winter Games saw the light of day in Chamonix, in an extraordinary atmosphere. Well, France’s enthusiasm for her bid is no less fervent today. Our Olympic ambition is on the move, and our efforts focus on the long term. We won’t begin on 7 July 2011 only to stop on the evening of the closing ceremony in 2018.

No: for us, this is about passing on the baton from generation to generation. And it’s about legacy. This bid is about more than location: it’s a bid from the heart. An authentic bid. A bid from the whole of France, which is ready to share a human and sporting adventure.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the clear and passionate message we sent to the International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission./.

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