Annecy looks to Sarkozy for 2018 bid

Wed, 06 Apr 13:43:00 2011

Annecy is counting on French President Nicolas Sarkozy to provide some heavyweight political punch to its campaign to host the 2018 winter Olympics.

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Charles Beigbeder, who took over in January and has seen the French city's chances improve after an IOC evaluation commission in February, said Sarkozy would probably travel to Durban, South Africa for the July 6 vote when the hosts will be picked.

"I am sure he will be there but I cannot confirm it. We are trying our best to have there strong support from the very top, top of the government," the entrepreneur said.

"He (Sarkozy) loves sport and he loves Olympism."

Heads of state have become a regular feature at IOC votes for Olympic hosts, with US President Barack Obama attending the 2016 election in 2009 to back Chicago's failed bid.

Then Russian President Vladimir Putin helped Sochi win the 2014 winter Games, presenting the bid at the IOC session in Guatemala in 2007.

Beigbeder took over the reins of the bid after his predecessor Edgar Grospiron resigned complaining about a lack of funds and support.

While the IOC forced Annecy to make changes to its candidacy last year, it noted the bid had shown a "clear improvement" when the evaluation commission visited the Alpine city earlier this year.

Germany's Munich and Pyeongchang in South Korea, bidding for the third time in a row, are the other two candidates.


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