LA, Paris set to share the spoils
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Paris moved within a hair’s breadth on Monday of formally being chosen to host the 2024 Summer Olympics after rival candidate Los Angeles on Monday agreed to accept the ‘consolation’ prize of the 2028 Games.
Both cities were competing for the 2024 Summer Games after several other contenders withdrew, and the stage was set for Paris to win its bid when the International Olympic Committee confirmed that Los Angeles had officially embraced the later date of 2028.
“The IOC welcomes this decision of the Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic candidature committee,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement.
The decision, subject to formal ratification by the IOC at a meeting in Peru in September, paves the way for Los Angeles and Paris to join London as the only cities ever to host the Games — summer or winter — three times since the modern Olympics began more than a century ago.
The United States last hosted the Olympics for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. Its first was Summer Olympiad III, staged in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904, coinciding with the World’s Fair held there that summer.
“I am proud to announce that the Olympic Games are coming back to the United States of America,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti told a media conference at the StubHub Center sports complex in suburban Carson.
US President Donald Trump, beset by recent staff shakeups and setbacks on Capitol Hill, hailed the news in a statement of congratulations from the White House.
“I am confident that the Summer Games in Los Angeles will exemplify both the Olympic ideal and the American spirit, and we look forward to hosting them,” Trump said.
The US has hosted the Olympics nine times — five summer Games and four winter installments. France has hosted six times, three each in summer and winter.
The IOC’s unprecedented move of essentially awarding two Games in tandem turned the spotlight on security challenges facing the French capital in the wake of a series of recent high-profile terror attacks there, while giving Los Angeles, which last hosted the Olympics 33 years ago, ample time to upgrade its public transportation system.
Residents of Los Angeles, which ranks as America’s second-largest city by population, expressed a mix of enthusiasm for the Games and anxiety about placing additional strains on the southern Californian metropolis’ notoriously heavy traffic.
“It was a great thing the last time we had it here in LA, and I think it will be a boon for business and kind of bring unity back to LA,” Los Angeles resident Domenic Ferrante, 53, told Reuters.
The hosting agreement for Los Angeles commits the IOC to furnishing the city in financial contributions totaling $2 billion, some $500,000 more than Rio de Janeiro received for last year’s Games.
The rest of the projected $5.3 billion budget would come from local sponsorships and ticket sales, Garcetti said. The US government has agreed to pick up the tab for “national security costs”, he added.
An official designation of Paris for the 2024 Olympics has yet to be announced. Assuming it clinches the Games for that year, it would mark the centenary of the 1924 Paris Olympics, depicted in the 1981 Oscar-winning movie Chariots of Fire.
Paris also hosted the second edition of the modern summer Olympics, in 1900.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo welcomed the Los Angeles decision but stopped short of saying the 2024 Games were assured for her city.
Talks with the IOC would continue through August to “reach a tripartite deal”, she
I am confident that the Summer Games in Los Angeles will exemplify both the Olympic ideal and the American spirit, and we look forward to hosting them.”
A representative for Hidalgo’s office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said definitive word was expected to come when the IOC meets on Sept 13 in Lima, Peru, after several more steps in the procedure had been finalized.
The co-chair for Paris’ Olympics bid, Tony Estanguet, said its organizing team had convinced the IOC “of the merits of awarding” the 2024 Games to Paris. His committee welcomed the Los Angeles announcement as “a key step in the process of awarding the Olympics”.
Garcetti said he anticipates unanimous IOC support for his city’s 2028 host designation in Lima.
Canadian senior IOC member Dick Pound told Reuters: “It is a win-win for the two cities.
“It’s good for the IOC because we’ve got two great cities lined up for the next two big shows”.
The next Olympic summer Games, in 2020, is scheduled to be held in Tokyo. Los Angeles previously hosted the Summer Games in 1932 and 1984.