PARIS (AP) Leaders of the Paris bid for the 2024 Olympics put on a show of unity at a festive meeting involving French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and more than 150 athletes for the official launch of a crowdfunding campaign on Friday.
Titled ''Je reve des Jeux,'' (I dream of the Games), the campaign is aimed at building popular adhesion to the bid as well as securing part of its 60 million euros ($67 million) budget.
It includes the sale of 2-euro ($2.25) wristband, donations from 2,024 patrons willing to pay 2,024 euros per year from 2015-2017, and sponsoring through a system of text messages, sporting memorabilia auctions and a gala dinner.
The event, broadcast live on French television, gathered Olympians and political figures in the fully-packed main hall of the French Olympic Committee, with a magician performing tricks on stage and a band entertaining guests including San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker and eight-time judo world champion Teddy Riner.
France great Zinedine Zidane did not show up, but he threw his support to the bid via a video message.
''What does France want? It wants to dream,'' said Valls, adding that ''there is no dream more beautiful'' than the Olympics. ''We need to show that France is a magnificent country and that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. And we need to do it in a very open way, to welcome the whole world in Paris.''
Paris last hosted the Olympics in 1924. The French capital is one of the five cities bidding for the 2024 Games, along with Budapest, Rome, Los Angeles and Hamburg, Germany. The IOC will choose the host city in 2017.