Paris, LA con­firmed to host Olympics

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee agreed yes­ter­day to award the 2024 and 2028 Games at the same time, ef­fec­tively guar­an­tee­ing that Paris and Los An­ge­les will be the hosts.

The French cap­i­tal is tipped to stage 2024, with the Cal­i­for­nia me­trop­o­lis hav­ing hinted that it was pre­pared to wait four more years. The two cities were the re­main­ing can­di­dates for the 2024 Olympics, a con­test that IOC boss Thomas Bach said cre­ated “a golden op­por­tu­nity”. The Olympic move­ment has had in­creas­ing trou­ble at­tract­ing prospec­tive hosts given the soar­ing costs and tax­payer sup­port re­quired. Paris and Los An­ge­les mounted pro­gres­sive, ex­em­plary bids that would trim ex­penses by us­ing ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties, the IOC said, mak­ing clear that it did not want to re­ject ei­ther can­di­date.

Bach lob­bied for a dou­ble host­ing plan, which won unan­i­mous ap­proval from IOC mem­bers at a meet­ing yes­ter­day in Lausanne, Switzer­land. With the deal in place, the IOC now has a two-month win­dow to ne­go­ti­ate with Paris and Los An­ge­les over which city will go first. Bach said he wants a “tri­par­tite agree­ment” be­fore the IOC’s main an­nual meet­ing in Peru’s cap­i­tal Lima on Septem­ber 13, when a vote on the 2024 host had been sched­uled. Im­me­di­ately af­ter the dou­ble host­ing deal was ap­proved, Los An­ge­les Mayor Eric Garcetti and his Parisian coun­ter­part Anne Hi­dalgo ap­peared on stage arm-in-arm to thank the IOC mem­bers, a clear sign that the de­sired three-way pact was achiev­able.

PARIS ‘READY’, LA TO WAIT?

Del­e­ga­tions from the two cities-led by French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron and LA’s Garcetti-were in Lausanne to make fresh pitches to IOC vot­ers. Paris has main­tained a tougher line on the 2028 ques­tion, in­sist­ing it was fo­cused nar­rowly on 2024, the cen­te­nary an­niver­sary of the city’s last Games.

“I am here to con­vey a mes­sage to say our peo­ple are ready to host these Games,” Macron told re­porters. “Af­ter three failed bids we don’t want to lose a fourth one,” he said. Paris mounted los­ing bids for the 1992, 2008 and 2012 Games.

The Los An­ge­les team did lit­tle to quell spec­u­la­tion it was open to 2028. “LA is ready to throw these Olympics in two months if we are asked, or two decades if it came to that be­cause we have every­thing ready,” Garcetti said, while not­ing the city was still “com­pet­ing for 2024.” Bid chair­man Casey Wasser­man re­minded that Los An­ge­les had not given the IOC “ul­ti­ma­tums” over the 2024 ques­tion. The city last hosted the Games in 1984. “Work­ing hard to get the Olympics for the United States (L.A.). Stay tuned!” Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said in a tweet, with­out mak­ing ref­er­ence to a par­tic­u­lar year.

‘GREAT’ OLYMPIC CITIES

The Olympic move­ment has been stained by Games that erected grand multi-mil­lion dol­lar fa­cil­i­ties that were left to crum­ble and rot, while the bil­lions spent in pub­lic money of­fered no long-term ben­e­fit to the host com­mu­ni­ties.

Los An­ge­les has stressed its near en­tire re­liance on pri­vate fund­ing while vow­ing to use the Games to broaden ac­cess to sports across the city, some­thing it won praise for do­ing fol­low­ing the 1984 edition.

While Paris has equally fo­cused on leav­ing a pos­i­tive legacy, Macron also high­lighted the op­por­tu­nity for France to rally around the “Olympic val­ues” of tol­er­ance and in­clu­siv­ity, say­ing they were em­bed­ded in the coun­try’s “DNA.” “It truly is a tale of two great Olympic cities,” said a re­port re­leased last week by the IOC’s 2024 Eval­u­a­tion Com­mis­sion. — AFP

LAUSANNE: From left, Casey Wasser­man, Chair­man of Los An­ge­les 2024, Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los An­ge­les, In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee, IOC, Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach, Anne Hi­dalgo, Mayor of Paris and Tony Es­tanguet, Co-pres­i­dent of Paris 2024, ges­ture, dur­ing a press con­fer­ence af­ter the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) Ex­tra­or­di­nary Ses­sion, at the Swis­sTech Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, in Lausanne, Switzer­land, yes­ter­day. —AP

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