IOC unan­i­mously ap­proves plan to seek con­sen­sus on host cities

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LAU­SANNE, Switzer­land — Fi­nally, Los An­ge­les and Paris have their Olympic host­ing des­tiny in their own hands.

If they can agree who goes first, each city will be awarded ei­ther the 2024 or 2028 Sum­mer Games in Septem­ber.

In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee mem­bers voted unan­i­mously on Tues­day to seek a con­sen­sus three-way deal be­tween the two bid cities and the IOC ex­ec­u­tive board.

Talks will open with Paris widely seen as the fa­vorite for 2024.

If a deal falls through, only the 2024 host­ing rights will be voted on when the IOC next meets, on Sept 13 in Lima, Peru.

How­ever, an agree­ment seemed as­sured, judg­ing by the re­ac­tion of the two may­ors on Tues­day.

“I have full con­fi­dence that we will get there,” LA mayor Eric Garcetti said at a cel­e­bra­tory me­dia con­fer­ence for both can­di­dates and IOC pres­i­dent Thomas Bach.

Garcetti and Anne Hi­dalgo, his friend and coun­ter­part from Paris, emerged on stage sec­onds after the vote, hold­ing hands, to wel­come the de­ci­sion. They were joined by Bach in a shared ges­ture of tri­umph.

The mood looked set to con­tinue over din­ner at the IOC’s fa­vored five-star ho­tel, the Lau­sanne Palace.

The Franco-Amer­i­can al­liance con­tin­ues later this week, when US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is due in Paris to join Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron for Bastille Day on Fri­day, the na­tional hol­i­day.

Macron was in the Olympic cap­i­tal on Tues­day to pro­mote the Parisian cause in a closed-door ses­sion with IOC mem­bers.

The pres­i­den­tial push was judged nec­es­sary by Paris, which has failed with three re­cent Olympic bids.

“We lost three times, we don’t want to lose a fourth one,” Macron said at the me­dia con­fer­ence. “I’m here to con­vey the mes­sage that there’s a strong unity to back this can­di­dacy.”

Min­utes after Macron spoke, Trump wrote on Twit­ter: “Work­ing hard to get the Olympics for the United States (L.A.). Stay tuned!”

Even with­out help from heads of state, LA and Paris are likely to reach a deal.

A head-to-head fight for 2024 would cre­ate a loser that is un­likely to re­turn four years later for a 2028 bid con­test.

“Both of us will find it more and more dif­fi­cult to con­vince cities — whether it’s

There was no pa­rade. No re­ports of deliri­ous fans honk­ing horns or danc­ing in the streets. No spon­ta­neous flag-wav­ing.

Los An­ge­les was all but guar­an­teed to be awarded a fu­ture Olympic Games on Tues­day, most likely in 2028, but pub­lic re­ac­tion in the sports-crazed city was, well, sub­dued.

The pri­vately run com­mit­tee be­hind LA’s Olympic bid has or­ga­nized dozens of flashy, celebrity-stud­ded events to show­case pub­lic sup­port for mak­ing Los An­ge­les a three-time Olympic city, after host­ing the 1932 and 1984 Games.

But there were no fire­works on Tues­day after the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee, meet­ing in Switzer­land, voted unan­i­mously to seek a deal to award the 2024 and 2028 Games, one to each city. Paris is widely seen as the fa­vorite for 2024, with Los An­ge­les get­ting the run­ner-up prize, 2028.

“Big step for­ward but more work to do,” Jeff Mill­man, a spokesman for the group, said in an email after be­ing asked about the ab­sence of a pub­lic event to mark the oc­ca­sion.

And the IOC won’t make a fi­nal de­ci­sion un­til Septem­ber, he added. But there ap­peared to be lit­tle doubt about the sig­nif­i­cance of Tues­day’s vote.

“LA is a vir­tual lock to host 2024 or ‘28 Olympics,” a head­line on the Los An­ge­les Times web­site said.

“Los An­ge­les is in the game as Amer­ica’s team,” Los An­ge­les city coun­cil pres­i­dent Herb Wes­son said in an email.

The city’s bid com­mit­tee has long ar­gued that there is over­whelm­ing pub­lic sup­port for bring­ing the Games back to LA. It has spent mil­lions of dol­lars stag­ing events to stoke Olympic ex­cite­ment, and its long list of sup­port­ers in­cludes NBA leg­end Kobe Bryant, swim­mer Janet Evans and ten­nis su­per­star Ser­ena Wil­liams.

“We have such en­thu­si­asm in our city,” mayor Eric Garcetti said. “We are in love with the Olympics.”

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