The French Alps’ bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympic Games has been selected as the sole candidate by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This decision marks a historic moment for France, which could host another major international sporting event shortly after the Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024.

Supported by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions, France’s bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics is a fantastic opportunity for France to reconnect with its glorious Olympic past. Historically, France has already hosted the Winter Games on three occasions: Chamonix in 1924, Grenoble in 1968 and Albertville in 1992.

France’s bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympic Games: a well-executed oration

On Tuesday 21 November, France’s bid for the 2030 Winter Olympic Games, which relies on the use of 95% of existing venues, passed a crucial stage when it was presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

With an estimated budget of €1.5 billion, the map for the 2030 Winter Olympics is structured around four key areas. In Haute-Savoie, the focus will be on the biathlon and cross-country skiing events. Savoie will host the Alpine skiing, ski jumping and Nordic combined competitions, as well as the bobsleigh, skeleton and luge events. The Briançonnais region will be the scene of freestyle skiing and snowboard cross. Finally, the Nice Côte d’Azur region will be the preferred venue for ice hockey, figure skating, short track and curling competitions, as well as additional ski and snowboard cross events. In addition, twelve of the thirteen infrastructures built for the Albertville Games in 1992 will be reused, demonstrating a sustainable and thoughtful approach to the organisation of this world-class event.

2010 – La délégation française amenée par Vincent Defrasne défile lors de la cérémonie d’ouverture des Jeux olympiques d’hiver de Vancouver au Canada le 12 février. ®AFP

2010 – The French delegation led by Vincent Defrasne marches during the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics in Canada on 12 February. ®AFP

The 45-minute presentation was given by a high-level delegation including Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister for Sport and the Olympic Games, Laurent Wauquiez and Renaud Muselier, Presidents of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions, and David Lappartient and Marie-Amélie Le Fur, Presidents of the French Olympic and Paralympic Committees. Martin Fourcade and Marie Bochet, emblematic figures of French sport, were also present to highlight the strengths of the French bid.

After the session, David Lappartient shared his feelings with a certain optimism. “The nature of the questions concerned the assurances the IOC wanted to have about our general ability to deliver. We answered all the technical and financial questions point by point“, he said, emphasising the meticulous preparation and in-depth knowledge of the dossier by the French team. “We showed, collectively, that we knew our file and that we had the answers to the questions put to us”, he concluded, reflecting the delegation’s confidence in the soundness of their proposal.

Targeted and exclusive dialogue between the IOC and France

On Wednesday 29 November, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took the strategic decision to enter into a “targeted dialogue” with the representatives of France’s bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics.

Tessa Worley, France’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games

At this stage of the selection process, the other candidates, notably Sweden and Switzerland, were eliminated. Sweden expressed its “incredible disappointment” at not being chosen. For its part, Switzerland is entering into a “privileged dialogue” for the 2038 Olympic Games, as Karl Stoss, Chairman of the Winter Games Future Host Commission, announced at a press conference.

Martin Fourcade, a French member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and a leading figure in biathlon, spoke from Tignes on the sidelines of the Etoiles du sport event. He shared his pride and joy at having helped convince the IOC. In his view, this decision is not only an honour, but also an exceptional opportunity for French athletes.

This choice is part of a major change in the process of selecting host cities for the Olympic Games.

An ethical and responsible dimension

The IOC has simplified this process, avoiding high bid costs and complex applications. As well as sporting recognition, the French bid has an ethical and responsible dimension. Martin Fourcade stressed the need to organise Games that meet contemporary ecological and social requirements, highlighting the importance of devising a sustainable and responsible model for such global events.

Arthur Bauchet, three-time Paralympic alpine skiing champion, was also enthusiastic about the prospect of seeing the French Alps host the Winter Games in 2030. For Bauchet, hosting the Games in France is more than just a career objective. It’s a lifelong goal, reflecting the profound and lasting impact of these Games on French athletes and society.

However, the official confirmation of the award of the 2030 Olympic Winter Games to the French Alps requires patience. The final decision should be announced at the next session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This will take place shortly before the opening of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, France’s other major sporting event. In the meantime, the French President has expressed his pride, promising on Platform X “innovative, sustainable and inclusive games that will put France and its mountains on the map”.