Despite International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach’s plans to minimize the number of Olympic bid “losers” and to reform the IOC process to embrace the “two excellent candidates” in the 2024 race, both cities vying for the prize have outright rejected the possibility of accepting any consolation prize.
Just days ago Bach boasted “we have two excellent candidates from two major Olympic countries.”
He said that the possibility of awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Games to Paris and Los Angeles at the IOC Session in Lima this September was to be considered by a committee of four vice-presidents of the organization. With the five-city race whittled down to two after the early exits of Hamburg, Rome and Budapest in the face of public and political opposition – the IOC is desperate to hold on to the interest it has.
But by adding some spin Bach said of the two remaining candidates, “this is the position you like to be in.”
However for both Olympic bid rivals Paris and Los Angeles, the only position they want to accept is first place, the 2024 Games.
Paris 2024 Co-Chair Tony Estanguet told BBC Sport Tuesday “2024 is now or never for us.”
“We believe we have the strongest offer but it is only available for 2024.
“We can’t host the Games in 2028 because we don’t have the project available for 2028.”
“We have the guarantees, we have the public support, we have the political support, we have 95 per cent of existing venues. This is the fourth bid from Paris and 2024 is the centenary of the Games in Paris.”
Estanguet said there is nothing for Paris to negotiate if it came down to a deal between the two cities.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti conveyed similar positioning to insidethegames Monday when he told the Olympic sport publication “We are competing for 2024.”
“I would love to visit my friends in Paris in 2028.
“We have never contemplated anything else.”
Though there has been no official comment on which city would host first in the two Games scenario, wide speculation has placed Paris in the 2024 position due to the claimed limited availability of land for the Olympic Village at Seine-Saint-Denis, and because it would mark the centenary of the previous Games in Paris. That would leave LA in the 2028 spot.
Garcetti and the LA 2024 team haven’t said that they wouldn’t accept an offer to host in 2028, but it’s clear that they’re not negotiating on 2024 either.
“We present a unique stability here,” Garcetti added.
“That is why we are as focused on 2024 as we are.
“It is not about something way-off in the future. It’s about we know we can deliver that year and what we are prepared to offer that year.”
Without a deal worked out by the IOC and the cities ahead of the Lima meeting, it would appear that 2024 would have to come down to a full membership vote to elect a winner. Then, offering the consolation prize to the other city would amount to a separate exercise.
But Estanguet further emphasized “either the IOC family wants to choose Paris for ’24 or we will not come back for ’28.”
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.