November 22, 2017

Olympic Games

Friday, July 14, 2017

IOC approves double host decision

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach (left) welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, this week.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week moved close to an agreement that will allow Paris and Los Angeles to each host the Summer Games between now and 2028 — and rule out any other cities from bidding.

The two cities were the only ones left in the race to stage the 2024 Games and an IOC session voted that it would seek a “tri-partite agreement” for one host in 2024 and the other in 2028. The original plan had been to choose one for 2024 at the next session in Lima on September 13, discard the other and start a whole new bidding process for 2028.

For the agreement to work, either one or both cities would have to be willing to accept the 2028 Games if they were not awarded 2024, the IOC said.

The mayors of both cities said they would work towards reaching an agreement while IOC president Thomas Bach said he believed a deal could be struck by August.

“We will start right away,” Bach told a press conference. “There are procedures to be followed in the two cities but I hope in August we could be there if everything goes well.” Bach said the decision would “ensure the stability of the Olympic Games for 11 years (which) is really, in our world, something extraordinary.” He described it as a “win-win-win” situation.

Should there be no three-way agreement, the vote at the Lima session will be a straightforward selection of only the 2024 host city.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose city hosted the Games in 1932 and 1984, said the decision was a welcome departure from what he described as the traditional “winner-takes-all” process.

Paris, which hosted the 1900 and 1924 Games, failed with bids to host the 1992, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The IOC has been desperate to overhaul its bidding process after four cities — Hamburg, Rome, Budapest and Boston — pulled out of the 2024 race, scared off by the size, cost and complexity of hosting the Games.

First, second

Just days before President Donald Trump arrived in Paris to celebrate Bastille Day with Emmanuel Macron, the French president headed to Switzerland to explain why the United States should come second — and France should come first. First, that is, in terms of which country should host the 2024 Olympic Games.

The French president attended the IOC meeting in Lausanne this week where he was pushing for his nation to win the hosting vote.

In theory at least, the new system might seem fairer: two countries would become “winners,” awarded games at the same time. But the reformed process would also mean something else — one country would literally be first and the other country second. And Macron has thrown his weight behind making France the former.

The French president’s choice to attend the event Lausanne was unusual. Generally, heads of state only attend the host city vote, which this year will take place in September in Lima, Peru. President Trump was not present in Lausanne this week, though he did offer his support in a message on Twitter: “Working hard to get the Olympics for the United States (L.A.). Stay tuned!”

Though Macron’s meetings with the IOC were behind closed doors, he offered a distinctly political explanation for why Paris should host the games in comments to reporters in Lausanne. “We need multilateralism, the structures that provide agreement among nations ... and tolerance, which the Olympic movement illustrates well,” Macron said.

“Olympic values are our values,” said Macron. “They are threatened, called into question by many today, so it’s the best moment to defend them.”

Though the economic benefits for Olympic host cities is widely contested, winning the nomination can be an important symbolic victory for world leaders like Macron and Trump.

— Herald with agencies

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