France is the favourite to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2030, after the joint bid of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Paca regions was the only one selected to go forward by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The bids presented by Switzerland and Sweden have already been ruled out, the IOC announced on Wednesday (November 29).
The IOC Executive Board confirmed that the joint Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Paca bid is the only one retained for “targeted dialogue”, which is a phase of extensive negotiations between it and the potential host country.
"France has a long tradition of winter sports and the organisation of major winter sports events," said Karl Stoss, Austrian chairman of the Future Host Commission, explaining the IOC's choice.
Although a final decision is not expected until 2024, progression to this next stage is understood to indicate a real likelihood of success.
President Macron declared his pride for the apparently successful bid on social media platform X, where he cited "innovative, sustainable and inclusive games, which will make France and its mountains shine".
Après Paris 2024...— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) November 29, 2023
Dans la dernière étape de dialogue, le CIO retient les Alpes françaises pour accueillir les Jeux Olympiques et Paralympiques d'hiver 2030.
Des Jeux innovants, durables et inclusifs, qui vont faire rayonner la France et sa montagne. Quelle fierté ! pic.twitter.com/ljTim0RQiz
The French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) officially submitted its candidature to host the 2030 Winter Olympic Games to the IOC on November 7.
The CNOSF has now published a map of four major regional hubs to be used as sites for the games if the application is successful.
The hubs identified in the bid are:
- Haute-Savoie, for biathlon and cross-country events
- Savoie, for bobsleigh, downhill and ski-jumping events
- Briançon, for snowboarding and freestyle events
- Nice Côte d'Azur, for ice rink events (at the Isola 2000 resort)
Olympic Athlete Villages would be set up in each of these locations. They would subsequently host the Winter Paralympic Games.
Reusing old sites
The joint Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Paca bid will see the 2030 games shared by the two regions.
With the largest mountainous area in Europe and many sports facilities remaining from previous events (Chamonix in 1924, Grenoble in 1968 and Albertville in 1992), the regions are hopeful that the bid will prove cost effective.
For the 2030 Olympics, France has said that it will rely on 95% of already existing sites. The only new construction envisaged is in Nice, where a new ice rink will replace the now dated Jean-Bouin complex.
If the bid is indeed successful, the opening ceremony will take place in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, and the closing ceremony in the Paca region. The locations of these ceremonies have yet to be decided.