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Chirac vows to complete infrastructure projects from failed Olympic bid

PARIS, April 24, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac vowed Monday that all the sporting infrastructure projects planned ahead of Paris' failed bid to host the 2012 Olympics will be completed.

Favourites Paris lost the race to host the 2012 Summer Games to London in an International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote in Singapore last July.

"The State will contribute to the achievement of the new infrastructures which will allow our country to host the biggest competitions," Chirac said at a ceremony to honour French athletes who took part in the 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games. "This commitmenet will firstly concern the facitilies planned in the Paris bid which will be completed."

The failure to land the 2012 Games was a huge blow for France.

It had been calculated that the world showcase would create 40,000 to 50,000 jobs with the economic benefits, including tourism, estimated at five billion euros (six billion dollars).

At Monday's ceremony the French president awarded the prestigious Legion of Honour medal to several athletes including Olympic downhill skiing champion Antoine Deneriaz who took gold in Turin.
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