EAGER TO LEAD BID: Luca di Montezemolo, ex-Ferrari boss, has been confirmed as top guy in Rome's Olympic Games bid. Image: AP.
ROME, Italy - Former Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo will lead Rome's bid for the 2024 Olympics, providing the candidacy with a high-profile figure equipped with extensive experience in international sports and business.
Montezemolo stepped down from Ferrari in October 2014 after 23 years as president of the Italian automaker during which its Formula 1 team had some its most successful years.
Italian Olympic committee president Giovanni Malago said on Tuesday (Feb 10 2015), while announcing Montezemolo's appointment: "I don't think anybody in Italy is as popular as Luca is abroad.. That says it all - no other name was taken into consideration."
Montezemolo, 67, who did not attend the announcement, also led the organising committee for the 1990 World Cup in Italy. He was named airline Alitalia's chairperson in November 2014.
"I'm going to apply myself with great enthusiasm," he told the ANSA news agency. "This is a challenge that will be won with innovation and creativity."
Luca Pancalli, president of Italy's Paralympic committee, was named vice-president of the bid committee.
The opposition party 5-Star Movement, led by comic Beppe Grillo, was less enthusiastic, citing debts and abandoned construction projects from the 1990 World Cup. The party noted that Montezemolo headed the organising committee for that tournament, 35 years earlier.
ONLY TWO BIDDERS - SO FAR
"The sports culture in Italy has always been and is still made up of great projects and great disasters," the party said in a statement. "So Montezemolo will be the perfect Olympic flag bearer."
Italian Premier Matteo Renzi announced Rome's cost-conscious Olympic bid in December, two years after Italy scrapped plans to bid for the 2020 Games because of financial concerns.
Rome - which hosted the 1960 Olympics - and Boston are the only declared bidders so far for 2024. Germany will decide between Berlin and Hamburg as its candidate. Paris is also considering a bid. Other possible contenders are South Africa, Doha, Budapest and Azerbaijanian city Baku.
The IOC will name the host city in 2017.
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