IOC awards ’24 Olympics to Paris, ’28 to L.A.
The Associated Press
LIMA, Peru — This was one of those rare Olympic moments where everyone walked away a winner.
Paris for 2024. Los Angeles for 2028. And the International Olympic Committee for transforming an unruly bidding process to lock down its future by choosing not one, but two Summer Olympics hosts at the same time.
The IOC put the rubber stamp on a pre-determined conclusion Wednesday, giving Paris the 2024 Games and L.A. the 2028 Games in a history-making vote.
The decision marks the first time the IOC has granted two Summer Olympics at once. It came after a year’s worth of scrambling by IOC president Thomas Bach, who had only the two bidders left for the original prize, 2024, and couldn’t bear to see either lose.
Both cities will host their third Olympics.
The Paris Games will come on the 100th anniversary of its last turn — a milestone that would have made the French capital the sentimental favorite had only 2024 been up for grabs.
Los Angeles moved to 2028, and those Olympics will halt a stretch of 32 years without a Summer Games in the United States. In exchange for the compromise, L.A. will grab an extra $300 million or more that could help offset the uncertainties that lie ahead over an 11-year wait instead of seven.
“We’re ready now,” L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti said, speaking to a city that has virtually every sports venue already in place.
Doing away with the drama that has accompanied these events in years past, there were no secret ballots or late dramatic reveals.
Bach simply asked for a show of hands, and when dozens shot up from the audience, and nobody raised their hand when he asked for objections, this was deemed a unanimous decision.
A ceremony that has long sparked parties in the plazas of winning cities — and crying in those of the losers — produced more muted, but still visible, shows of emotion. Paris bid organizer Tony Estaguent choked up during the presentation before the vote.
“You can’t imagine what this means to us. To all of us. It’s so strong,” he said.
Later, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo stood by Bach’s side and dabbed away tears as the vote was announced and the IOC president handed the traditional — but now unneeded — cards to her and Garcetti. One read “Paris 2024,’ and the other “Los Angeles 2028.”
With cities no longer willing to write blank checks in order to hold the Olympics, both future hosts have more economically feasible plans.
Only one totally new venue is planned for Paris– a swimming and diving arena to be built near the Stade de France, which will serve as the Olympic stadium. Roland Garros, which will host tennis and boxing, will get a privately funded expansion. In all, the projected cost of new venues and upgrades to others is $892 million.
To be sure, Paris already has much to work with. Beach volleyball will be played near the Eiffel Tower; cycling will finish at the Arc de Triomphe; equestrian will be held at the Chateau de Versailles. And what would an Olympics be without some water-quality issues? There will be pressure to clean up the River Seine, which is where open-water and triathlon will be held.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, will get an extra four years that Garcetti insists is hardly needed. L.A. proposed a $5.3 billion budget for 2024 (to be adjusted for 2028) that included infrastructure, operational costs — everything. A big number, indeed, though it must be put into perspective: Earlier this summer, organizers in Tokyo estimated their cost for the 2020 Games at $12.6 billion. The London Games in 2012 came in at $19 billion.