SBD/May 16, 2017/Olympics

IOC's Praise For Paris Increases Probability '24, '28 Games Will Be Awarded In September

The IOC’s glowing reviews of Paris '24 during its inspection this week matched the praise it gave LA ’24 last week, adding even greater probability to the IOC’s brewing scheme of awarding both the ’24 and ’28 Games later this year. As the IOC Evaluation Commission wrapped its site visits in both Olympic bid cities, Chair Patrick Baumann called Paris’ venues “equally mind-blowing” to L.A.’s, according to Inside the Games, an Olympics insiders’ newsletter. "If we look at both bids from a technical point of view, there is no doubt that both are able to stage an Olympic Games,” Baumann said, according to Reuters. Baumann last week said of the L.A. plan, "It goes from spectacular venues, to impressive venues to mind-blowing venues.” Later, he told reporters: “It is clearly a win-win situation. We have two of the best possible cities that one can dream of being candidates to host the Olympics.” The IOC Evaluation Commission visits rarely yield substantive criticism, so Baumann’s robust praise is not unexpected. But with no discernable difference in his praise in each city, it further underscores the IOC’s general position that both cities are worthy, and brings to mind President Thomas Bach’s suggestion that the bid process creates “too many losers." The vote for the ’24 Games is set for Sept. 13 in Lima, Peru. However, a working group appointed by Bach is scheduled to report back by June on whether a joint award is feasible, and that could quickly lead to one city winning ’24 and the other winning ‘28. Both bids say they are vying for '24 only, but few insiders expect either to reject '28 if offered. A tie this week may be seen as a loss for L.A., however. L.A. backers believe its technical bid is clearly superior, citing its plan to use UCLA dorms for athlete housing instead of a multi-billion dollar construction plan, and lack of government funding. Paris expects to spend $1.86B on an athlete’s village, which it says is better because it can be built specifically to athlete’s needs, and also has emphasized its strong support from new President Emmanuel Macron and its robust public transportation plan as its own superior points.
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