Paris moved within a hair’s breadth on Monday of formally being chosen to host the 2024 Summer Olympics after rival candidate city Los Angeles agreed to accept the consolation prize of the 2028 Games in a rare two-way contest between the cities, Reuters reports.
Both cities were competing for the 2024 Summer Games after several other contenders withdrew, and the stage was set for Paris to win its bid when the International Olympic Committee confirmed that Los Angeles had officially embraced the later date of 2028.
“The IOC welcomes this decision of the Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic Candidature Committee,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement.
The IOC’s unprecedented move of awarding two Games in tandem turned the spotlight on security challenges facing the French capital while giving Los Angeles, which last hosted the Olympics 33 years ago, ample time to upgrade its public transportation system.
Residents of Los Angeles, which ranks as America’s second-largest city by population, expressed a mix of enthusiasm for the Games and anxiety about placing additional strains on the city’s notoriously heavy traffic.
“It was a great thing the last time we had it here in LA, and I think it will be a boon for business and kind of bring unity back to LA,” Los Angeles resident Domenic Ferrante, 53, told Reuters.
The hosting agreement for Los Angeles commits the IOC to furnishing the city financial contributions totaling US$2 billion, the committee said.
An official designation of Paris for the 2024 Olympics has yet to be announced. Assuming it clinches the Summer Games for that year, it would mark the centenary of the 1924 Paris Olympics, depicted in the 1981 Oscar-winning motion picture Chariots of Fire.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo welcomed the Los Angeles decision but stopped short of saying the 2024 Olympics were assured for her city, adding that talks with the IOC would continue through August to “reach a tripartite deal”.
A representative for Hidalgo’s office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said definitive word was expected to come when the IOC meets in September in Lima, Peru, after several more steps in the procedure had been finalized.
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