March 17 - Charles Beigbeder, the new President of the Annecy Bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, is confident he can bring the Games to the French city after his committee proved they can overcome major adversity.
Annecy are considered underdogs to host the 2018 Games in their three-horse race against Munich and Pyeongchang.
Their Bid was left in tatters last year when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) warned Annecy they needed to dramatically alter their plans and make them more compact if they were to be allowed to continue to bid.
The city suffered a further blow when chief executive Edgar Grospiron stepped down at the end of last year citing a lack of guarantees over funding.
But after joining the team in January this year, Beigbeder has turned the situation around and feels Annecy are right back in the race after their new, compact plans received a positive review at the recent IOC Evaluation Commission last month.
"We obviously had problems with the original plan but that might not have been the worst thing for us," said Beigbeder.
"It made us improve our Bid, and what is more, it showed that we are able to tackle big problems, to put in place fantastic solutions - and that is something the IOC Evaluation Commission were very impressed by in their recent visit.
"So now, we truly believe we can win.
"We will fight to the very end, to the very last minute."
Beigbeder, a successful businessman, said Annecy were fully focused on their own Bid but admitted his team are taking an interest in how plans for Munich and Pyeongchang are progressing.
"Our main focus is on ourselves and how we can continue to improve, but this is a competition and of course we are aware of other competitors and of some of the things they are doing," he said.
"For example, when you run a race, you want to know how far your rivals are behind you or in front of you because, at the end, there is only one winner.
"But I can tell you that we are definitely right back in the race."
A decision on where the 2018 Olympic and Paralympics will be held is set to be made at the IOC Session in Durban on July 6, and with the decision drawing ever closer, the Annecy 2018 President admits he has a lot of hard work to do in terms of meeting IOC members because he is so new to the set-up.
"Right now, the top priority is for us to travel internationally and meet as many IOC members as possible because this is an election with over 100 members," he said.
"I am new to the Annecy team so I have to meet them personally as they do not know me.
"I have to introduce myself, explain where I come from, explain why I am here and then highlight the huge strengths of the Annecy Bid.
"So it means a lot of travelling to meet the IOC and going to the big events such as SportAccord in London.
"But we are in the final stages now so you can be sure we will give everything."
Beigbeder added that he does not feel a policy of rotation will count against Annecy (or Munich) as a Games in Pyeongchang will be the first Asian Winter Olympics of the 21st century.
The last three Games have been in the Americas [Salt Lake City 2002], Europe [Turin 2006] and the Americas again [Vancouver 2010] while the next Winter Games in 2014 will once again be in Europe [Sochi 2014], but the Annecy 2018 President is unperturbed.
"It is obviously up to the IOC," he said.
"The members vote alone but I think they will vote for what they think is the best bid for the Olympic family and not just for a certain part of the world.
"Of course it can contribute to their decision but the main criteria for them is what city will offer the best Olympic and Paralympic Games and we think we can truly give the IOC a fantastic Games.
"I will not reveal everything right now on the details of the film we will be showing the IOC on the day of the vote, but you can be sure that it will be very impressive and that there will be a few nice surprises for them."
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