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2018 Olympics - How green are France's candidatures?

Les Ecrins

The mountains of the Ecrins National Park could provide the backdrop for the 2018 Winter Olympics. © PIXELIO / Minimax

Four French towns are bidding to stage the 2018 Winter Olympics:
Annecy, a town with a strong mountain identity; Grenoble, where the Winter Olympics were held in 1968; Nice, where mountains meet the Mediterranean, and Pelvoux-Vallouise in the region of the Ecrins National Park with its montagne nature (nature & mountains) candidature. The decision will be taken in March 2009 when the French Olympic Committee announces France's official candidate for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The French candidate is certain to come up against at least one rival bid from the Alpine region, with Munich competing as Germany's candidate.
On paper at least, all four French candidatures demonstrate the determination to organise so-called ecological Games. Nice in particular wants to guarantee "clean Games" with a dense public transport network. Grenoble and Annecy are talking of CO2-neutral Games, with Annecy pointing to the fact that 80% of the sports infrastructure is already in place.
The bid submitted by Pelvoux-Vallouise is a little different, featuring slogans such as "… and what if the Winter Olympics were organised in the mountains?" The region points out that the Games really would be held in the mountains and be of benefit to the mountain region. Pelvoux's candidature stands out internationally from other projects by providing for the re-use of the infrastructure used for the 2006 Olympic Games in the neighbouring city of Turin/I. And its bid states that other ecological concerns are also to be addressed: the spatial concentration of the venues; a concept for soft mobility revolving around the existing railway line; planning all the installations in such a way that they are complementary with summer and winter use; a cost-conscious approach to resources such as water and energy, etc. Pelvoux also intends to lend more weight to the Olympic idea, with a budget half the size of its rivals' budgets.
While announcements of "green" projects are all very well, ultimately it's the implementation of the concepts that counts. And when it comes to sustainability, the Olympic Games - whether summer or winter - have had few successes to show in the past.
Information: www.pelvoux-ecrins-2018.com (fr), www.annecy-2018.fr (fr), www.grenoble2018.fr (fr), www.nice-coteazur-2018.fr (fr), www.comite-olympique.asso.fr (fr)