With exactly one year to go before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) votes to elect the host city for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Lima, Peru – Rome’s bid committee is stepping up its campaign for the final sprint. But an insurmountable hurdle lies directly ahead that will likely stop the bid in its tracks just days from now.
Rome’s Mayor Virginia Raggi, who was elected after the 2024 campaign was launched and on an platform opposing the Olympic bid, has so far refused to provide necessary support for the bid and Italy faces an October 7 deadline to win her over if they want to stay in the race.
Italy’s Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malago has arranged to meet with Raggi after the Paralympic Games end Sunday to plead his bid’s case with the Mayor but many believe her mind is made up and she’ll end the bid this month.
But ANSA reports Rome 2024 General Coordinator Diana Bianchedi said Tuesday “having studied the Olympic dossier in depth I don’t think that anyone can pass up this opportunity. For this reason I think that in the end we will find an agreement.”
“We are pressuring her on timing but this is what the International Olympic Committee is asking of us.”
On Monday, Malago was more blunt reportedly explaining that withdrawing from the race now, and for the second consecutive bid, could jeopardize Italy’s chances for generations.
“It would be useless to waste time with the IOC for 2028 or 2032,” he said, adding that it could be as long as “30 or maybe 50 years.”
But it was business as usual for the bid Tuesday as the candidacy marked the milestone by launching a new video entitled “Four lives, One Olympic dream” that follows the young lives of a gymnast, runner, football player and diver as they are destined to compete together at the Rome 2024 Olympic Games.
The team also presented results of a comprehensive survey of Rome’s sporting facilities designed as a useful tool for the bid and Games preparations, but also as a valuable legacy from the process that will help Romans better utilize the wealth of existing facilities.
The release of the survey had been planned for September 27 but was clearly rushed to be unveiled two weeks early so that the impact and results could be used to help convince Raggi and other opponents the value that the bid brings.
Malago used the occasion to further emphasize the need for the bid to go forward. He said “this census was an important contribution. It received financing and support as part of the Rome 2024 project.”
“The bid is the key. Without the bid, we will not be able to carry out the work that has been planned”.
Rome 2024 President Luca di Montezemolo said that the strength of the Italian capital’s bid is bolstered by the abundance of existing facilities.
But he added “as a major project, the Olympics need to offer significant urban improvement. Should Rome be selected, the IOC will disburse 1.7 billion dollars benefiting the city. These will be crucial for renewing the city.”
“Rome would be at the centre of the world’s attention for two years in a row, thanks to the 2024 Olympics and the Jubilee in 2025”.
According to the survey there are 2,221 existing sport facilities in Rome and 1,000 of those are publicly owned. As part of the project analysts recommend the construction of 15 new training facilities that would cost up to 3.7 million euros and could be delivered with the Olympics.
Rome is competing among Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris to host the 2024 Olympic Games.
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.