By Duncan Mackay in Annecy
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

February 10 - Annecy have promised that they will fulfil their environmental pledges if they awarded the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. 

The promise came as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission began its second day of inspecting facilities, including visiting the site of the controversial proposed freestyle skiing site in the Semnoz mountain area.

Local residents have already written to the IOC who have voiced their fears that if the Olympics are held there then it will cause serious long-time damage to the area. 

"Semnoz will be returned to local people in the state in which it was given to us," said Jean-Pierre Vidal, the vice-president of Annecy 2018 and responsible for sustainability.

The 11-strong IOC Evaluation Commission, which is headed by Sweden's Gunilla·Lindberg, also heard about Annecy's plans for accommodating the athletes.

Their plans feature three Olympic Villages, one of which will become a unique Paralympic Village for the Paralympics.

The idea behind Annecy 2018’s pioneering concept is to provide athletes with the best possible environment so that they can perform at the top of their game and live out their Olympic and Paralympic dreams to the fullest, French officials claim.

The Annecy and Chamonix villages will house the athletes and the Olympic family.

St Jean de Sixt, a secondary village, will house all the Nordic events athletes.

Three villages have been planned with a total of 5,100 beds, and having three Villages means that athletes will never be more than 20 minutes away from their competition venues, Annecy claim.

The Annecy Olympic Village, situated on a 28-hectare plot and include 2,500 beds reserved for the speed skating, short track, curling, freestyle and snowboard athletes. 

"It will provide an ideal environment for the athletes," said Perrine Pelen, a three-time Olympic medallist in slalom

"Having the finish lines in the centre of the mountain resports and the medals podium in the town centre means that the athletes and the public can share their enjoyment of the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The Annecy Village will also be used for athletes competing in the Paralympic Games.

"Having a single Paralympic Village in Annecy situated in one snow and ice hub means athletes can also enjoy and watch all the events," said Denis Berbet, the 2002 Paralympic slalom champion.

"This will be a truly unique occasion for all the Paralympic athletes and will be a first in the history of the Winter Paralympic Games."

The environmental aspect and human scale of the three villages fully comply with Annecy 2018’s sustainable development approach, and they have been integrated into an existing urban development plan to ensure that they will leave a strong social legacy in the region, Annecy claimed.

"We are offering an innovative concept for Olympic and Paralympic Villages in the centre of Annecy and its resorts," said Charles Beigbeder, President of Annecy 2018.

"This will mean that the entire Olympic family can enjoy the Games in the mountains and share moments of emotion with the public.

"Our number one priority is ensuring that the athletes enjoy the very best preparation and training conditions, which can be achieved by reducing travel time between their accommodations and their competion venues."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
February 2011:
 Sarkozy visit to meet IOC Evaluation Commission boosts Annecy 2018
February 2011: French Prime Minister to greet IOC Evaluation Commission in Annecy
February 2011: Jean-Claude Killy - "Annecy speaks for itself"
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