By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

Jean-Claude_head_and_shoulderFebruary 4 - Jean-Claude Killy has admitted that Annecy would have had no chance of winning its campaign to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics if it had not changed its plans and also that it was a mistake to appoint Edgar Grospiron as the bid's chief executive.

The triple Olympic champion skiing champion, who is now a senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has been criticised for not backing Annecy's bid more publicly.

But he claimed that he had been behind Annecy from the start of the campaign.

"I've been here since day one, behind the scenes, but effective," said Killy in an interview published today in Le Dauphiné libéré.

But he conceded that if the IOC had not been so critical of the bid last summer which forced them to make sweeping changes to their plans then their chances against Munich and Pyeongchang would have been zero.

"Until June 22, 2010, there were none or very little [chance]," he said.

"Today, Annecy is in the race although it will be very difficult."

Killy is now more optimistic of Annecy's chances of succeeding when the IOC picks the host city at its Session in Durban on July 6.

"We can organise spectacular Winter Games," he said.

"When you're talking about Chamonix, La Clusaz, Le Grand-Bornand, and Annecy a stone's throw from Geneva, there's no need to go into long-winded explanations.

"It speaks for itself."

Annecy's bid has had fresh life breathed into by the appointment of successful businessman Charles Beigbeder as the new President, who has been leading preparations for the start of the visit of the IOC Evaluation Commission next Wednesday (February 9).

He was brought into replace Grospiron, the 1992 Olympic moguls champion, who resigned in December, claiming that Annecy did not have the financial muscle to compete against Munich and Pyeongchang.

"I very much regret that he had to leave because he could not get assurances over the budget," said Killy.

"Some people thought Edgar was a man of money.

"That is ridiculous.

"He did not have an easy job but was well respected by IOC members.

"In retrospect the decision to make him chief executive was a mistake.

"Edgar should have been positioned as the co-President."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
February 2011: Annecy recruit another London 2012 veteran to help Olympic bid
February 2011: Cash injection boosts Annecy 2018 on eve of IOC Evaluation visit
January 2011: Exclusive - Beigbeder vows to take Annecy "from underdog to top dog"
January 2011: Sarkozy claims Annecy bid is "beneficial to the entire country"
January 2011: "We can make things work" claims new Annecy 2018 leader