Paris still favourite as strikes fail to derail bid

This City's determination not to lose its status as the safe pair of hands in the bid to stage the 2012 Olympics clearly runs deep. Just before the International Olympic Committee held its post-inspection conference in the French capital on Saturday, the officials scrapped a plan to hand out free "Paris 2012" watches to the media.

The watches, worth just €10 (£6.99) each, remain in boxes and Paris narrowly avoided any claims of currying favour with the press. As the inspectors flew out their hosts were breathing a sigh of relief. After a week of scrutiny, Paris, installed as favourite from the start of the 2012 Games bid, appears still to have it all to lose. Mass strikes and mud slung from across the Channel certainly made it a difficult week but no lasting damage appears to have been done.

Before departing, the evaluation commission, which has been unerringly polite about each of its hosts praised the Paris bid for political solidarity and a passion which reflects its official slogan, "L'Amour Des Jeux''.

The leader of the commission, the Moroccan Nawal El Moutawakel, even turned the workers' demonstrations which coincided with the inspectors' site tours on Thursday into a benefit for the bid committee. "This demonstration did not affect our visit at all," she said. "As far as we are concerned we will discuss it further but we appreciated the work between the labour movement and the bid committee.''

Paris appeared to have learned much from their shambolic bid for the 2008 Games. In place of disunity this time is a triumvirate of leaders from central government, the region and city who are doggedly "on message".

Still, the Paris bid leaders will be keen to learn over the next couple of weeks if there are more uncomfortable truths to emerge when the IOC publishes its evaluation report on 6 June. Like other bid cities they have a network of consultants tapping into the grapevine on the fringes of up-coming IOC meetings in Melbourne and Berlin. Under the spotlight of the past week some potential difficulties have emerged, including the suitability of the main stadium and road congestion.

El Moutawakel confirmed that the French were rightly proud of the Stade de France - built to host the World Cup in 1998 - which is the proposed main Olympic Stadium. But she acknowledged a report by the International Association of Athletics Federations, critical of transport arrangements at the 2003 World Athletics Championships at that stadium.

Unlike the London bid, the majority of venues in Paris already exist. To avoid white elephants they will rely on 13 temporary venues, which raises doubts over the sporting legacy the Games would deliver. The majority of venues in Paris are based in two loose clusters to the north and west of the city and will put strain on the connecting eight-lane orbital road.

The northern cluster, which includes Stade de France and the unbuilt Aquatic Centre, is more widely dispersed and will therefore be more difficult to make secure.

As favourites, Paris will inevitably come under fire from some of its rivals and the potential for this became clear last week. There was no better example than concerns over the use of police outriders to hasten the IOC on its venue tour. As a storm threatened to break over Paris, Gilbert Felli, the IOC's chief technocrat said there was no breach of rules and certainly no favours given.

Rivals will also seize on the appearance in court next month of the French IOC member and key bid figure Guy Drut, who faces charges of financial impropriety. But officials have dismissed this as unconnected to the campaign. "There is no connection between that and anything else that is happening,'' the mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, said. "The same applies to the strikes and the suggestion that it is in any way pivotal to the Games.''

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star