LA, Paris set to share the spoils

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

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.

Cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tion

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.”

re­vealed.

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.

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