DOHA: The Olympic family has had its first formal look today at what rivals Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris are offering in vying for winning votes to host the 2024 Olympic Games writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, had ‘set up’ the presentation session before the general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees by claiming bid interest as entirely due to his Agenda 2020 project.
Bach also delivered a robust defence of the Rio 2016 Games and the controversial context of their staging in what was also a signal to the 2024 bids what whoever wins will have his and the IOC’s full support – whatever the world’s geopolitical complexities may have thrown up by then.
Los Angeles led off the presentations with contributions from Mayor Eric Garcetti, Allyson Felix (the only female track-and-field athlete to win six Olympic golds), LA 2024 chairman Casey Wasserman, Janet Evans (vice-chair and director of athlete relations) as well as IOC members Angela Ruggiero and USOC chairman Larry Probst.
The last time the US bid for the Games, Chicago 2016 was given short by the IOC then in the throes of a stand-off over financial issues with the Americans.
A new TV and rights deal with NBC has largely resolved that problem so Garcetti was free to tick the various bid boxes, saying: “This bid is about ensuring that the Games are sustainable and relevant in every year beyond 2024 as well.
“This bid isn’t only about LA’s future – it’s about our collective future. We are planning a great Games in Los Angeles but we’re also laying the ground work along with you for future Games.
“We know that LA 2024 must not only deliver great Games, they must also deliver transformative Games. And we know that we can help transform the Games because we are a transformative city that reflects creativity and innovation – and because the Olympics are in our DNA.”
Addressing fears raised since the election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency, he insisted: “I see an America that is outward-looking, ready to play its role alongside the community of nations to address our world’s most pressing challenges.
“Choose LA2024 and help us show a new generation of Americans that our strength is being with the world, not turning our backs to it.”
Felix also appealed for IOC voters not to be put off by a Trump presidency and all that might mean, saying: “America needs the Games to help make our nation better – now more than ever . . . Please don’t doubt us. America’s diversity is our greatest strength.”
Budapest claimed to offer the ideal ‘modest’ response to the new hosting world as idealised by Agenda 2020 while Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo promised to raiwe the party atmosphere by “celebrating the Games on the Champs Elysees, with the Eiffel Tower and all along the Seine.”
Key to the Paris 2024 presentation was the launch of the bid’s ‘Declaration for NOCs and NPCs’ by Denis Masseglia, French NOC president.
This comprised proposals aimed to highlight a ‘concierge service’ which the city would offer teams of athletes, coaches and officials before, during and after the Games.
Paris is also pursing the concept of a centenary Games after the ‘Chariots of Fire’ hosting in 2024.