22 Mar 2017

Paris only wants 2024 Olympics

8:50 am on 22 March 2017

Paris Olympic bid officials have ruled out any possibility of the French capital hosting the 2028 Games and say it is 2024 or nothing.

Paris bids for 2024 Olympics.

Paris bids for 2024 Olympics. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Three-times Olympic canoeing champion and bid co-chairman Tony Estanguet said Paris was not opposed to the 2024 and 2028 host cities being decided at the same session later this year in a break with past procedures.

But he made clear that Paris, which last hosted the Games in 1924 and is going head-to-head with Los Angeles after other bids withdrew, was only an option for the Olympics that follow four years on from Tokyo 2020.

"(2028) is not an option for us," said the International Olympic Committee member.

"Our project is only feasible and guaranteed for 2024...the land to build the Olympic and Paralympic village is only available for 2024.

"This is the fourth bid by Paris and we believe it is now or never. This is the last chance to see Paris bidding for the Games. Afterwards, I think Paris and France will do different things."

Bid officials said there was an agreement that the land earmarked for the village would be handed over to developers after the 2024 Games -- or next September if Paris lost out to California.

IOC president Thomas Bach has hinted he would not be against awarding the 2024 Games and 2028 at the same time.

He said last week the IOC Executive Board had agreed to set up a working group to explore potential changes to the process and report back in July. The 2024 host city will be awarded at a vote in Lima, Peru, in September.

Officials from both bid cities have said they are not looking beyond 2024. Estanguet said Paris would have no problem with both Games being decided at once provided Los Angeles was given 2028.

"We are ready for this option, and we welcome this process," he said. "If the IOC can find a solution with LA, thatG��s great.

"But I can only say that Paris is only possible for 2024. We cannot accept 2028."

He said Paris has 95 percent of venues already in place, with only the aquatics centre remaining to be constructed.

With photographs of abandoned and decaying venues from last year's Rio de Janeiro Games already doing the rounds, Estanguet promised that there would be no 'white elephants' left after a Paris Games.

He said the city would also be a safe option for the IOC, both in terms of the organisation and security despite a series of militant Islamist attacks over the past two years in which more than 230 people have been killed.

"Of course we will maintain the safety of the Games," he said, referring to last year's European soccer championship in France. "We proved recently that we are completely able to organise strong international events with total security.

"We want to have security and we have the expertise in France at the moment. There is no question about our ability to maintain safety during the Games."

Asked how confident he was of Paris's eventual success, Estanguet said it would be a case of fighting right down to the last minute.