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Paris, LA both poised to win race to host Games

2017-07-11 10:48
Olympics-rio
The Olympics flag is handed from London Mayor, Boris Johnson, second from left, to the International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge at the closing of the 2012 Olympics. (AP)

Lausanne - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was poised to hand the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games to Paris and Los Angeles on Tuesday in a landmark double hosting deal.  

The IOC meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland had initially been forecast as a key stage in the battle for 2024, with teams from the French capital and California mega-city making fresh pitches to voters. 

But the Paris-Los Angeles rivalry has been muted by an IOC plan to ensure that both cities come out as winners, with one hosting 2024 and the other taking its turn four years later. 

The IOC has struggled to attract prospective hosts given the enormous cost of staging the Games and Olympic boss Thomas Bach has said he clearly that he does not want to turn either Paris or Los Angeles away. 

The double hosting plan was backed by IOC executives last month and is widely expected to win approval from the body's roughly 100 members later on Tuesday. 

Los Angeles, led by mayor Eric Garcetti, did little to quell mounting speculation it was prepared to wait. 

"We are competing for 2024", Garcetti told reporters after Los Angeles made its presentation on Tuesday. 

But he added that LA was keenly awaiting approval of the double hosting proposal, which may make the 2024 race "moot". 

"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. 

"You can't be a kid with your toys and say if you don't give me exactly what I want I'm getting out of here," added the LA mayor, who is a prominent member of the US Democratic Party. 

LA bid chairman Casey Wasserman reaffirmed that the American bid has "never given an ultimatum about 2024". 

The French side has insisted it was exclusively focused on 2024, the centenary anniversary of the last Games in Paris. LA last hosted in 1984. 

French President Emmanuel Macron, a vocal 2024 proponent was leading the Paris push in Lausanne and addressed IOC members in a presentation earlier Tuesday. 

Macron, who came to Lausanne with his wife Brigitte and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, also met IOC top brass on Monday on a tour of the Olympic Museum, set on a hilltop overlooking Lake Geneva. 

He portrayed the Olympics as a beacon of hope amid a deeply trouble political climate. 

"In a fractured world where tensions are resurgent, we need the values of peace and tolerance that the Olympic movement illustrates and embodies strongly," Macron told reporters.

Bach and the IOC have already endorsed Paris and Los Angeles as model hosts, praising their efforts to trim costs by using existing or temporary venues, something Olympic bosses hope will become a growing trend. 

The Olympic movement has been stained by Games that erected grand multi-million dollar facilities that were left to crumble and rot. 

"It truly is a tale of two great Olympic cities," said a report released last week by the 2024 Evaluation Commission. 

Bach said Monday he was eyeing a "win-win-win" result from the 2024 bidding process, with Paris, Los Angeles and the IOC emerging victorious. 

Assuming that happens, Bach said formal discussions will begin with both camps, with a goal of reaching consensus on which city goes first.

Garcetti said he had "tremendous respect for the French team" and voiced hope that if the double award is approved Los Angeles and Paris could begin a phase of "collaboration instead of competition".

Read more on:    ioc  |  olympics
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