Russia is considering a bid to host the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, even as reports are circulating that a deal is in the works between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Los Angeles officials to award the Games to the American city if it agrees to step aside and allow Paris to stage the 2024 Games.
But according to Russian Olympic Committee President and IOC member Alexander Zhukov, plans for the double-awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Games this year are merely discussions.
He told Russian news agency TASS Thursday from St. Petersburg “It is now being seriously discussed that the hosts for both Olympiads will be elected in September, that is, these two cities (Paris and Los Angeles) will share the years 2024 and 2028.”
“Then a bid can only be filed for 2032 but this, like the discussion of Russian cities that can host the Olympics, is a purely hypothetical thing. No bids have been submitted.”
Olympic officials in Russia are under fire by recent revelations that a state-sponsored doping program helped domestic athletes cheat at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, something that is only part of a wider conspiracy. As a result, many Russian athletes were banned from the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and there is talk of further penalties to be imposed during the upcoming PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games.
A bid by Russia would certainly be impaired as the nation tries to rebuild integrity in its sport programs.
“Potentially, Russia may hold the 2028 Summer Olympic Games,” Zhukov added.
“The event can be hosted not only by Moscow and St. Petersburg but also by Kazan and Sochi. This does not mean that bids will be submitted tomorrow but Russia has proved by hosting the 2014 Olympics that it can hold such large-scale events.”
On Thursday Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed that discussions were underway about the 2028 deal.
The Mayor told reporters “as we’ve talked to the Olympics they’ve asked us to think about – both Paris and us – what would it take for us to consider one of us going first and the other going second,”
“My dream is not so much just to bring the Olympics here, but is to bring youth sports for free to every zip code.”
Garcetti implied a deal to host in 2028 would involve the IOC funding youth sport programs in Los Angeles well ahead of the Games marking the first time he’s publicly taken any focus off the 2024 target.
Previously, both LA and Paris had vehemently denied any interest in hosting the 2028 edition with leaders in the French Capital claiming the project to build the critical Olympic Village is only available for 2024.
IOC President Thomas Bach denied Thursday from Germany that there has been any deal with Los Angeles, and he claimed he was unaware of Garcetti’s comments, according to insidethegames.
He said “we will discuss this question, first of all, at the IOC Executive Board and then, if we come to the conclusion that a double application should be taken into consideration, then we will have discussion with the IOC members.”
Bach further clarified that any decision would have to be confirmed by a vote of the IOC membership.
The IOC Executive Board will meet to discuss the issue, along with a report from a special IOC panel proposing changes to the bid process, on June 9 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Executive Board will meet again on July 9 and 10, followed on July 11 by an IOC membership assembly in the Olympic Capital for a 2024 candidate city briefing that will include presentations and question-and-answer sessions with both Los Angeles and Paris. It will be the first opportunity to hold an all-members vote on any necessary topic, including to ratify any decision proposed by the Executive Board.
The annual IOC Session will take place September 13 in Lima, Peru where the 2024 host city election has been scheduled. This will be the final opportunity for members to approve any proposed double-award, or simply vote for the single Games winner as originally planned.
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.