By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
September 4 - France's largest union of employers have pledged their backing to Annecy's bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
The MEDEF - the "Movement of the French Enterprises" - promised the supporter after more than 200 French business leaders were addressed at their summer meeting by Edgar Grospiron, the chief executive of Annecy 2018, who claimed that their plan was a "new model for the Olympic Movement".
Grospiron said: "Our bid is not solely based on our region's assets, such as our excellent accommodation facilities - Savoie Mont-Blanc is the world's number one destination for winter sports.
"We now aim to go much further.
"The first Winter Games in Chamonix, in 1924, marked the beginning of the winter sports boom in the modern era.
"Now we want the 2018 Games to open a new route to the mountain peaks of the 21st century.
"This is the new model we are proposing to the Olympic Movement."
Laurence Parisot, the President of the MEDEF, praised Grospiron, who won a gold medal in moguls the last time France staged the Winter Olympics, at Albertville in 1992.
She said: "Annecy 2018 is a tremendous project, first of all because, as we all know, it is a region which is no stranger to sporting success, with champions from every discipline, and not least of all, the man heading the bid, one of our most talented sportsmen.
"It is also an inspiration to see men and women who have already reached the heights of Olympic achievement to devote their time and efforts to serving the community.
"This is why the MEDEF and all the companies within the MEDEF are resolute in their support for Annecy 2018."
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