Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
| Help
Last Updated: Monday, 1 September, 2003, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Is Paris' bid on track?

By Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport at the Stade de France

What did the 2003 World Championships mean for Paris' 2012 Olympic bid?


The Stade de France is a truly world-class stadium
The Stade de France is a truly world-class stadium
Is the Stade de France fit to host an Olympic Games? Without question.

Beautifully designed, with excellent sight lines from all round the track, the stadium is the best that Europe has to offer.

The capacity of 72,000 is big enough to house any event, be it football's World Cup or these World Championships.

There was sufficient provision for the media, easy entry and exit for the fans and no concerns about crowd safety.

Verdict: Success


In contrast to the 2001 Worlds in Edmonton and 1997 Worlds in Athens, the Paris championships saw almost complete sell-outs for every evening session.

Even the final-less morning sessions, historically not well attended, were watched by thousands of enthusiastic fans.

The crowds were also knowledgeable, responding well to great performances from non-French athletes.

And when they did witness French success, the roar could be heard in outer space.

Verdict: Success


Drummond's red card was one of the less edifying memories of Paris
Drummond's red card was one of the less edifying memories of Paris
There will always be a few minor hiccups in the running of major championships.

Paris' problem was that, when things went wrong, they went wrong very publicly.

The fiasco over Jon Drummond's false start made news around the world, and the sight of a hapless official impotently holding a red card over the prone American was one of the enduring images of the nine days of competition.

It was also a mistake seen in the flesh by several of the highest-ranking visitors from the IOC.

Yet compared to the shambles that was the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the 2003 Worlds went relatively smoothly.

Verdict: Hung jury


Those driving to the Stade de France experienced traffic problems throughout the championships - but maybe they only had themselves to blame, as organisers had warned from the start that public transport was the better option.

For those coming by RER, it was quick and easy getting around - provided you got lucky and ended up at the closer of the two stations.

Otherwise you faced an unedifying walk alongside dual carriageways and through dingy underpasses and a wait for a train that would have bored a Tibetan monk.

Transport for the athletes was also patchy in the early stages but organisers made the necessary adjustments for the final week.

Verdict: Moderate success


Paris is one of the world's most famous cities
Paris is one of the world's most famous cities
No surprises here - Paris is a major world city and has more than enough hotels, restaurants and bars to soak up the hundreds of thousands of visitors who came for the Worlds.

Unlike London, it also stays open late as a matter of course, rather than as an exception.

And when events are finishing close to midnight and the entire crowd is suddenly disgorged into the city looking for food and drink, that's a near-essential.

There were complaints from some American athletes about the standard of rooms in the athletes' village - but these concerned a lack of air conditioning, something most visiting athletes did not expect.

Verdict: Success


There were no major alerts that we ever found out about, and in terms of the day-to-day security at the stadium no-one could have any complaints.

Every bag was searched but with a minimum of fuss, police were visible but not intrusive and apart from the occasional rumour about the odd journalist sneaking into the athletes' village, no-one really went where they shouldn't.

Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele were happy enough to use the Metro just two days before their 10,000m final - and it is hard to imagine them feeling the same way about London's Underground.

Verdict: Success

Links to more World Athletics 2003 stories





The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability Sport | US Sport | Other Sport | Olympics 2004

Scores & Fixtures | Have Your Say | Photo Galleries | TV/Radio Listings

Sport Relief 2004 | Fun and Games | Question of Sport | BBC Sport Plus

Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport