IOC gives resounding thumbs-up to Paris’ Olympic plans, as organizers chase LVMH deal

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PARIS — An IOC inspection team gave a resounding thumbs-up Wednesday to Paris’ preparations for the 2024 Olympic Games, declaring “a very, very high level of confidence” despite unresolved questions about financing and security.

“Paris is where it should be with 415 days to go,” said Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, who heads the IOC commission overseeing Paris’ plans.

While new Olympic venues are on track, French auditors have flagged to parliament that they’re still unable to say how much the games will cost in total and what their final impact will be on public finances, once security and other expenses are factored in. Some $9.4 billion are budgeted for Olympic construction and the Paris organizing committee, with more than a third of that from public coffers.

Despite their repeated reassurances, doubts also persist about whether Paris organizers will be able to recruit private security guards in sufficient numbers so that military personnel don’t need to be mobilized to help secure venues.

Still, the messaging from the IOC and Paris organizers was unrelentingly upbeat at the end of a three-day visit to France’s capital by Beckers-Vieujant and his team.

“I can tell you that we are leaving Paris with a very, very high level of confidence about the fact that Paris will be ready to host the Games,” Beckers-Vieujant said.

The head of the Paris organizing committee, Tony Estanguet, described himself as reassured.

The IOC “recognizes that we are on time,” he said.

To boost revenues, Paris organizers confirmed that they are working to bring French luxury giant LVMH on board as another major sponsor.

But there was no final word on when that might happen.

“Talks are underway with the LVMH group,” Estanguet said. “We have to stay prudent because this deal isn’t signed.”

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

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