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Budapest’s Axed Olympics Bid Opens Door for Both Paris and L.A.

8 Mar, 2017

By: Michael Popke
Cities Dropping Out of Race May Indicate Deep-Seated Problems with IOC Process

And then there were two.

On Feb. 22, Budapest withdrew from the list of cities vying to host the 2024 Olympic Games, leaving only Paris and Los Angeles. The move came after more than 250,000 people signed a petition demanding that Budapest drop its bid and urging officials to use money that would be spent on the Olympics to update local hospitals and schools, according to The New York Times.

In 2015, Hamburg residents voted to remove that would-be Olympic city from the running, and the United States Olympic Committee withdrew Boston from consideration because of fierce resistance among residents. In Italy, Mayor Virginia Raggi dropped Rome’s bid last fall, saying the Games “would bring only debt.”

“The shrinking field highlights a bigger problem facing the Olympic governing body: The huge price tag of hosting a Summer or Winter Games has spawned civic disinterest and led several cities to drop recent bids or decide against entering the race at all,” according to the Chicago Tribune

That could be why the International Olympic Committee, which will issue its decision on the host city for 2024 in September, might at the same time award the 2028 Games to the other city.

That possibility does not sit well with some IOC members, who claim awarding the Olympics to a city 11 years in advance poses too great of a risk and would be unfair to other cities considering a 2028 bid.

Taiwan’s International Boxing Federation President and IOC Executive Board member CK Wu told InsideTheGames.com that it is “impossible to prepare 2028 bidding in such [a] short time, therefore to decide two Games this year is not feasible.”

On the other hand, Richard Peterkin, an IOC member from Saint Lucia, said that awarding two Games at one time would “reduce the uncertainty of getting good bids in 2021 as a result of all of the issues affecting bids now — gigantism, increasing costs, doping, corruption, fears of cost overruns, terrorism and a waning appetite by the public that could be reflected in future referendums. If the two cities are Paris and L.A., both strong bids, it could do wonders for the reputation and popularity of the IOC and the Games, and generate greater confidence for the bidding and staging for future Games.”

IOC President Thomas Bach has previously claimed the current selection process “produces too many losers.”

More recently, Bach suggested changing the rules so that cities bidding for the Olympic Games for a second time pay less than those launching a first attempt. This may be seen as a reaction to pronouncements from both L.A. and Paris that they are interested only in 2024 and would not bid on 2028 if they were not awarded the former.

But, given the epic commitment of financial, commercial, natural and human resources required to host a successful Games — Rio is only the latest city fall prey to post-Olympics decay — will Paris or (and?) L.A. ever be considered actual winners?

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