Lausanne, Switzerland, Jun 8 – Olympic bosses appear set to recommend that hosting rights for the 2024 and 2028 Games be awarded simultaneously, a landmark step that could hand winning bids to rival candidates Paris and Los Angeles.
The International Olympic Committee’s executive committee meeting in Lausanne Friday will receive reports from a working group that studied the idea.
If endorsed, the proposal will go to a vote of the IOC’s roughly 100 members next month for final approval.
With that hurdle cleared, the IOC’s main meeting in Lima on September 13 would then hold a double vote to award both the 2024 and 2028 Games.
The plan fits the IOC’s effort to make Olympic bidding less costly, with cities often spending tens of millions of dollars only to come up empty handed.
Hosting the Games has also become an increasingly daunting prospect for cities, with fewer willing to take on the vast expense.
The IOC is therefore anxious to lock in two low-risk, high-quality bids from cities with a record of successfully staging major sporting events.
IOC chief Thomas Bach has complained that there are “too many losers” in Olympic bidding and has voiced support for both Paris and LA winning the right to host the Games.
While the idea of a double vote in the Peruvian capital is gaining traction, a fierce battle is continuing over which city gets to go first.
– 2024 or nothing? –
Both Paris and LA insist they remained set on 2024, but the terrain is shifting.
The French side is holding a tougher line, while LA for the first time this week opened the door to the prospect of 2028.
“We want to get the Games for 2024. That’s my mandate”, said the co-chief of the Paris bid, Tony Estanguet.
“We can’t really consider 2028 at the moment,” added the former Olympic champion canoeist, while conceding that it “makes sense” for the IOC to look at a double vote.
Meanwhile, LA 2024 chairman Casey Wasserman suggested the Californian metropolis was open to a mooted deal which would see Los Angeles stage the Games after Paris.
“To be blunt, LA 2024 has never been only about LA or 2024,” Wasserman said Wednesday.
LA later issued a statement declaring that “LA is not conceding anything in the race for the 2024 Games”.
– Which city can wait? –
Los Angeles offers the chance to host the Games without egregious public spending, a top IOC priority.
The city last hosted in 1984 and much of the infrastructure remains in place. LA has said it will use university residences to house athletes, instead of building an Olympic village.
Crucially, the LA team says it has secured $5.3 billion (4.7 billion euros) in private funding, which if delivered could set a new paradigm for hosting Games that have historically relied on taxpayer money.
But, the LA camp warns, those pieces may not stay in place if the city has to wait four more years.
In Paris, the case against waiting is symbolic, logistical and political.
The French capital last hosted the Games in 1924, so a return 100 years later would inevitably trigger marketing and promotion opportunities around the centenary.
IOC evaluators have also stressed public transport is a priority for the successful city.
Los Angeles, famous for snarling traffic and clogged freeways, has launched a massive public transportation overhaul independent of the Olympic bid.
But the work is in its infancy and Paris has noted that its Metro already carries eight million passengers per day, suggesting LA could benefit from the extra time.
New French President Emmanuel Macron pledged unequivocal support for the Paris bid immediately after taking office, promising to be on hand to support his side in Lausanne next month, and in Lima in September.
Paris has stressed that the prospect of both Macron and supportive Mayor Anne Hidaldgo being in office in 2024 would be a boon for the Games, while 2028 is rife with political uncertainty.