Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said at a meeting Friday of Rome’s 2024 bid committee, that Italy is a “strong candidate”.
Bach told Italian President Sergio Mattarella, “Italy’s candidature is strong because of its history, both that of the country and its sporting history. I wish you good luck for your candidature, I congratulate you for your commitment, continue like that”, he said.
Alessandra Cattol, a member of Rome’s city council, said that historic sites in Rome, including the Circus Maximus, should be incorporated into planning for Rome’s 2024 Olympic bid. She said city hall is considering holding some award ceremonies at the Colosseum, “which is symbolic”, and other historic sites could be used for similar ceremonies. She added that “the Circus Maximus could be a very good location for some disciplines”.
Mayor Ignazio Marino said he would “love” to host a medal winning ceremony at the Colosseum. Officials in charge of the upkeep of the ancient arena reportedly warned him that special permission would be needed.
Promoters of the bid have said that many of the required sports facilities are operational and would only need upgrading. These include the Stadio Olimpico which has a running track for athletics, and the pool used for the swimming races at the 2009 World Championships.
This will be Rome’s second consecutive bid following a withdrawn campaign for the 2020 Games. Then, amid a national financial crisis, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti refused to provide the financial guarantees that were required with the bid application, and despite last-minute lobbying by bid officials – they pulled the plug on deadline day. While financial woes still linger in Italy, support for the bid appears to be growing stronger.
Rome is set to face Boston and Hamburg, two cities that need to win binding referendums before be added to the final election ballot. Paris and Budapest are also expected to enter the race, making the 2024 campaign a largely European battle.