The president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Renaud Muselier, has announced that his territory wishes to announce its "intention of candidacy" for the 2034 or 2038 Winter Olympics.
But his counterpart from Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Laurent Wauquiez, could also declare his intention to apply for those of 2030.
presents the strengths and weaknesses of these two regions for hosting the Winter Games.
A Franco-French duel for the organization of the Winter Olympics.
Renaud Muselier (LR), the president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, announced the intention of a candidacy from his territory for the organization of the Winter Olympics in 2034 or 2038. Except that the neighboring region, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, chaired by Laurent Wauquiez (LR), is currently considering running for those of 2030.
lists the strengths and weaknesses of these two "candidate intentions".
The progress of cases
Renaud Muselier, the president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, took advantage of his wishes to the press to announce the intention of a candidacy of his territory for the Winter Olympics.
While claiming to ignore the will of his comrade Laurent Wauquiez, for the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region.
“I discovered that Laurent wanted to apply.
In any case, he has not expressed his intention to apply.
He is not in contact with the sporting world, he does it in a different way.
I've been working for a long time, I'm moving forward, I'll present my case and that's it.
I've been working there for three years, ”assured Renaud Muselier.
Except that when we ask for details on this “intention to apply”, with the region, the file seems less advanced.
“Renaud Muselier has made note of his intention to apply in order to federate and know the will of local elected officials, employers' federations, stations.
Since this declaration of intent, we have had a lot of positive feedback and it is now time to get everyone around the table.
Now is the time to work and a presentation of the project should take place fairly quickly,” we are told.
Fabrice Pannekoucke, president of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourism, president of the Mountain Commission of the region and mayor of Moûtiers (Savoie), specifies for his part that this is a “potential” candidacy.
When Laurent Wauquiez announced his wish for a "application from the Alps, from Mont-Blanc to Vercors" at the end of October 2021, "we were in consultation with the municipalities which had had Olympic sites in 1992, to see their feelings", explains he.
Today, the region "measures all its strengths in a conscientious and prudent way, before taking a more active approach".
Beyond the declarations of intent, no one has yet really advanced.
Renaud Muselier draws on the experience of Nice's intention to apply in 2009. “The concept that we had already dealt with around Nice and the Alpes-Maritimes has evolved into an idea of territory. And this concept of territory is interesting for the South region, then we will see the breakdown. But we are not starting from a blank page, the infrastructures have evolved and the ski areas are already getting along with each other,” said Renaud Muselier.
Nice airport, the third in France behind the two Parisians, is an undeniable asset, but it remains to be seen where the rear base of these Winter Olympics will be. Marseille, Nice, Gap, Briancon? The climate is also an asset according to Pierre Vaultier, double gold medalist at the Olympic Games in snowboarding. “We have quite a few high-altitude sites that are well secured in terms of snow cover. We have the same number of snow days as in the Northern Alps. If the climate changes, which is likely, the impact should be limited in 2034. And the Northern Alps will not be better off than those in the South”, he anticipates.
Another asset for Paca: its intention to apply for the 2034 or 2038 Olympics, since the alternation often remains in place for the Olympic committee.
And with the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan, there is a better chance of seeing them return to Europe by 2034 than in 2030.
With 80% of its territory located in the mountains, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is the largest mountain region in Europe.
His candidacy would be a file "Northern Alps, therefore of federation of what makes the strengths of the region", specifies Fabrice Pannecoucke.
The region would show its desire to "concretize the commitments made in the mountain plan", to organize games "in the most virtuous and prudent way possible".
The equipment is almost all ready for use, from the many tracks, ice rinks and ski jumps, to the only bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track in France, in La Plagne, built for Albertville 1992.
Another asset: “The history of major winter sporting events is linked to this area,” recalls Fabrice Pannecoucke.
We have an Olympic history, in Isère and Savoie, and we have demonstrated that we know how to organize large-scale events such as cups and world championships.
The point for Paca, with the image of Nice, the infrastructures linked to tourism in the region and large resorts in the hinterland.
Beyond climate change, it is above all the territory's lack of experience at the highest level and its lack of infrastructure that could penalize the Paca region's candidacy. “There is not a single international ski stage in the Southern Alps, unlike the Northern Alps. The last round of the slalom World Cup organized on the Luc Alphand black run in Serre-Chevalier is so far back that I can barely remember it, I was such a kid. And to move upmarket, you have to go through all the levels. It starts with the organization of international competitions”, warns the snowboarder.
A lack of experience in organizing major events aggravated by glaring shortcomings in terms of infrastructure. “There is no ski jumping track, no bobsleigh track and these are ultra-expensive infrastructures. We're really going to have to be inventive on this. I read that Patrick Arnaud, the director of Serre-Chevalier, had launched the idea of making cross-border games with the Cesana Pariol bobsleigh track or the Pragelato ski jump track. Geographically speaking, it's logical, we have a lot of exchanges with them, it's as if there were no borders. But perhaps there will be administrative brakes,” asks Pierre Vaultier. But as it is a territorial application, and not a city, it remains possible. Given the price of this equipment,the Paca region should have no choice.
For Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, the deadlines are short: 2030 is almost tomorrow.
A candidate city or region must first inform the French Olympic Committee, before the final decision of the IOC.
“The timetable is both short, therefore ambitious, and realistic”, tempers Fabrice Pannekoucke, for whom 2030 “has the advantage of being on a scale that we understand well”.
With climate change, will there be enough snow in 2030?
The region puts things into perspective by recalling the excellent snow cover of the last two seasons and "the good development of the equipment which makes it possible to ensure the patches where it would be necessary".
In addition, the sites considered “are those on which there is no concern for the future of the stations”.
Last drawback: the alternation of continents which governs the allocation of major international sporting events.
It would be unlikely that the IOC would entrust new Olympics to France just six years after Paris 2024. On this point at least, Paca and Aura remain together at the foot of the podium.
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes may be aiming for the wrong date, but that is its only handicap.
For the rest, everything is already ready.
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