Paris counts on 2024 Olympic Games to drive out its ghosts

Olympic rings are unveiled during a ceremony at place du Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower (seen rear) to celebrate the annoucement of Paris' victorious 2024 Olympic bid, in Paris, France, 13 September 2017. EPA-EFE/IAN LANGSDON

Paris counts on 2024 Olympic Games to drive out its ghosts


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Paris will host the 2024 Olympic Games, that is, exactly 100 years since the first time the French capital welcomed the international event.

The French capital lost three Olympic bids before the International Olympic Committee awarded the French capital with the prize on Wednesday, in Lima, Peru.

The French proposal featured events taking place in globally recognizable and eye-catching sites, such as volleyball under the Eiffel Tower and equestrian events at Versailles. Construction will be kept at the bare minimum, and most will be seen as an urban regeneration project in the suburb of Saint Denis. The new Olympic village will mean that the whole area will be re-signified, rebranded, and reintegrated.

More money is going to be spent on infrastructure, which is necessary for a global metropolis that is not getting any smaller. The Paris metro system expects an overhaul to the tune of €30bn, as the network expands to the suburbs and new links are established between lines.

For Paris, this is a chance to deal with its ghosts and consolidate its claim to renaissance. The city has lived successive terrorist attacks, from Charli Hebdo to the coordinated attacks of November 2015.

Tourism has suffered a major blow, as has the image of Paris. But, now Paris is back. AFP reported in July that Paris has seen a 19% surge in visitors in the first quarter of 2017, while hotel reservations are reaching a 10-year peak. The objective for this year is 89 million visitors.

The future for the city looks bright.

The city hopes to host a share of London’s financial district after Brexit. Meanwhile, the city is reemerging as a destination for start-ups with American giants setting up infrastructure to attract, hone, and recruit talent. The 2024 games give Paris the chance to celebrate its comeback at every level.

In June, Paris 2024 has a 73% public approval rating, although many are skeptical of whether or not this is a waste of money. For cities hosting the games, the cost of security is often extortionate, while the very institution of the Olympic Games is in crisis. Numerous cities run multi-billion dollar cost overruns as the IOC pockets much of the profits. The games are rife with corruption allegations and doping continues to tarnish any pretension of Olympic spirit. No Olympic City has ever kept on a set budget since 1968. And one wonders if the level of popularity of 2017 will remain the same until 2024.

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