PRAGUE (AP) — The deadly attacks in Paris won’t deter the French capital’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics.
Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris bid, said Friday the group is determined “more than ever” to bring the games to the city in the wake of the coordinated attacks that killed 130 people.
“At the beginning we were really shocked, in mourning like any other citizen,” Estanguet told The Associated Press. “To be honest, at the time you forget about your business and your work and for some days we were not concerned about the bid. We were focusing on the situation in the country.”
But Estanguet said the bid team is now pushing forward with renewed determination to bring the games to Paris for the first time since 1924.
“All the team members had the same feeling … that we have to continue and to work maybe harder than we did in the past,” he said. “We believe in France and internationally we need the projects where people will share good moments, positive moments, and sport is a great vehicle for this kind of emotions.”
Exactly a week after the attacks across Paris, Estanguet was in Prague to attend the general assembly of European Olympic Committees.
A three-time Olympic gold medalist in canoeing, Estanguet said the security issue should not hamper the Paris bid.
“We’re leaving this topic to the authorities,” he said. “And it’s good to see that internationally that there’s a common energy to share a good expertise and make sure that they will resolve this problem.”
Estanguet came to Prague from Lausanne, Switzerland, where he and other Paris officials attended a workshop on the bidding process at International Olympic Committee headquarters.
Bid officials from the four other candidate cities — Los Angeles; Rome; Budapest, Hungary; and Hamburg, Germany — also came to Prague after meetings in Lausanne.
“We realize that so far our project was in a good line,” Estanguet said. “We will continue with the same team spirit and atmosphere. We’re working well for the moment. We don’t have to change anything.”
The IOC will select the host city in September 2017.
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