Paris and LA Could Resolve 24 / 28 Olympic Games Bid Rift On Field Of Play

The bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024 could ultimately be decided on the field-of-play, according to a source within the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The list of five initial applicants to host the Games has been winnowed down to just two, Los Angeles and Paris, after bids from Hamburg and Budapest were overturned by public opposition and one from Rome was rejected by the city’s mayor.  That has led the IOC to investigate the possibility of awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Games to LA and Paris this year in order to ensure that there will be reliable host cities for the next decade.

But both cities deny that they are interested in the 2028 Games, and are instead focused only on hosting in 2024.  That leaves the IOC with the predicament of determining, if they move forward with the double-award, which city will host first.  That’s typically conducted by member voting which has already been scheduled for September 13 in Lima, Peru.

While investigating bid reforms, however, the IOC has been considering the possibility of instead holding a sports meet between the United States and France with the victorious nation winning its choice of hosting either the 2024 or 2028 Games, while the defeated city hosts the other.

“That takes the decision, and the inherent politics, out of [the IOC’s] hands – and it brings sport to the centre of the bid,” the source explained.

“A meet could be held in September around the time of the intended IOC vote and it could include six or seven sports that make sense, between the two nations.

“It would be a fantastic event that could be broadcast on all platforms, and would be self-funded by revenue from rights-holders, ticket sales and corporate sponsorships.”

Points will be awarded for gold, silver and bronze medals and the nation with the most overall points wins.  Some events being considered include swimming, cycling, wrestling, triathlon, fencing, volleyball as well as a pared-down athletics competition.

“We feel that by reducing the number of events for each sport and making good choices that align with venue availability,” the source said, “we could successfully implement the event quickly and at a low cost.”

She said that cycling could be limited to the road events eliminating the need for a velodrome; and athletic events could exclude those requiring the full track – so the field events, as well as short distance sprints and the marathon could be accommodated within smaller venues.

She added that accommodations would be a breeze with the limited number of athletes attending from the two nations with fewer sports.

“Hotels should suffice,” the source said.

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies could be held in a theatre or arena, whatever the city can provide.

Budapest 2024 Chair Balasz Furjes (right) signals start of ceremonial first race among Hungarian swimmers at new Danube Arena (GamesBids Photo)
Budapest 2024 Chair Balasz Furjes (right) signals start of ceremonial first race among Hungarian swimmers at new Danube Arena.  Could it be used to help decide the race between LA and Paris? (GamesBids Photo)

The only obstacle remaining is the task of choosing a neutral host city for this 2024 bid event that is reportedly already being informally referred to as “Agenda 2024.”

Interest in hosting the event has been informally expressed from cities in Germany, Italy and Hungary who say they are prepared.

Budapest, having just opened its new aquatics facility for the World Championships in July believes the city can be ready for the 2024 event.  The scaled-down plan that requires no new construction and is customized for facilities that already exist in the city, officials claim, will make organizing the event inexpensive, low risk and potentially profitable – but still entertaining and memorable.  No referendum will be required.

“Unlike the Olympic Games,” the source added.

The IOC has yet to describe the site selection process for the 2024 bid event, but it is believed that officials will be looking for cities with Agenda 2024 compliant plans.  Further plan details that are being considered are expected to be revealed as International Sport Federations meet at the SportAccord Convention in Aarhus, Denmark beginning Monday.

Meanwhile Milan, it was announced Thursday, is the only applicant interested in hosting the 2019 IOC Session, the meeting where the winner of the bid for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games will be elected.  Sion in Switzerland along with other potential bids such as Calgary, Innsbruck, Nagano, Erzurum in Turkey and Almaty in Kazakhstan could be in the running.

The IOC will visit Milan for an inspection in May then the IOC is expected to elect the host city of the IOC’s 2019 Session to elect the host city of the 2026 Olympic Winter Games at the IOC Session to be held September 17 in Lima, Peru.

[Editor’s Note: Happy April Fools Day!  This article is fictional in our April Fools Day style.  But, it does make you think, right?  Read our past April Fools Day articles below.]

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A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of 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.

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