Explainer: What’s going on with bidding for and awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games?
The International Olympic Committee have hinted that they could award both the 2024 and 2028 Olympics at the same time and South Africa’s Sam Ramsamy sent out a statement on Wednesday suggesting it would be a “win-win”. But the two remaining cities bidding for 2024 aren’t so chuffed with the idea. ANTOINETTE MULLER explains what’s potting.
Will the hosting rights for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games be awarded at the same time?
Earlier this month, when the International Olympic Committee met in n Pyeongchang, South Korea, there were strong suggestions that it will award both the 2024 and the 2028 Games in September this year. The IOC executive board announced that a working group made up of the IOC’s four vice presidents will study possible reforms to the bidding city process – which will include whether or not to award two Olympic Games at the same time.
And this means...
Currently, only Los Angeles and Paris remain as bidders for the 2024 Olympic Games. The representatives of both countries are due to meet with the IOC in July.
And in quotes, please.
As ever, a lot was said without saying anything...
IOC President Thomas Bach was quoted as saying: “Everything is on the table. And this was exactly what we have discussed on the board. On the one hand, we have said there can and will be no decision; on the other hand, no option is off the table. So, all the options are on the table, and this includes also the 2024/28 procedure and vote.”
That’s executive speak for: ja, well, okay, no, fine.
But some people have actually said it’s a good idea, right?
South Africa’s Sam Ramsamy, who is an IOC member, said in a media statement on Wednesday that the awarding of the Games to two cites at the same time would be a “win-win situation for the entire Olympic Movement and its stakeholders”. He said that while losing an Olympic bid has always been “somewhat of a trauma” in the past, this presents the “ideal opportunity of not having a loser. One city would need a seven-year build up, while the other will have a 14-year build-up”.
Oh, good, so Kumbaya and everybody’s happy?
Not quite. Hours prior to Ramsamy’s statement, Paris Olympic bid officials said they are not interested in the 2028 edition. Speaking to both Reuters and the BBC the bid’s co-chair Tony Estanguet said that 2028 was “not an option” and insisted that the project is “only feasible and guaranteed for 2024 because, amongst other things, the land to build the villages is only available that year”.
And what does Los Angeles have to say?
After Paris made their position clear, Los Angeles issued a similar statement, saying: “Los Angeles is the right city at this critical time for the Olympic Movement and is only bidding for 2024.
“With all permanent venues already built and 88% public support, only LA 2024 offers the lowest-risk and truly sustainable solution for the future of the Olympic movement in 2024 and beyond.”
Great, so administrators don’t know what they’re doing, again.
Yes and no. The double-awarding isn’t such a bad idea, especially considering how much money is poured into these things – just ask South Africa after their 2022 Commonwealth Games balls-up. But you cannot go around changing processes without consulting those involved.
Countries who bid prepare these things according to very specific feasibility details (unless they’re South Africa, obviously) and randomly deciding that hosting something four years later than planned isn’t exactly a wise move if you didn’t bother to consult anyone on that decision.
Is there time left to reach some sort of agreement?
About six months remain before the IOC session in Peru to decide. They are meeting in September, but considering countries are increasingly apprehensive about shouldering the burden of cost for hosting these events which never seem to make any money, this is certainly not going to be a get out of jail free card. All of this might spell bad news for Paris who have staged three unsuccessful bids in the last few years. The next three editions of the Games will be held in Asia, so the IOC will be desperate for a time zone that’s a bit kinder to NBC, its greatest benefactor, in the next cycle. DM
Photo: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach of Germany speaks during a press conference after the Olympic Summit of the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland, 21 June 2016. EPA/LAURENT GILLIERON