Battle for 2024 Games enters ‘final straight’

2016 Olympic site in Rio
2016 Olympic site in Rio

Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest delivered their third and final dossiers to host the 2024 Olympics on Friday although a machete-attack in the French capital brought fresh security headaches for bid chiefs.

The three cities “officially entered the final straight in the bidding process,” the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced in a statement.Frontrunners Los Angeles and Paris are launching into the fray straight away while Budapest is waiting until mid-February while its leaders seek to head off the threat of a city referendum on the bid.

The 2024 hosts will be announced at the IOC’s 130th Congress in Lima on September 13.As Paris were depositing their completed bid, security in the city was again under the spotlight after a soldier patrolling at the Louvre museum shot and seriously injured a machete-wielding attacker.Paris has been the target of a series of attacks in recent years but French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve insisted the city isn’t alone in facing the threat of terror.”The terrorist risk is everywhere in the world,” said Cazeneuve.”Other countries have been attacked, the United States as well as ourselves. It’s because we have been hit that we have adapted.. This is what we did for Euro 2016 (football championships) and what we will do for 2024.”The three candidates in the race to stage sport’s greatest spectacle will undergo visits by IOC bid inspectors.

- ‘Made for Sharing’ -

Los Angeles is first to be put under the microscope on April 23-25, followed by Budapest (May 10-12) and Paris (May 14-16).The IOC bidding commission’s final report will then be sent to all IOC members to study and be made public before a July 11-12 meeting of the IOC and sporting federations.

In California, LA 2024 chief Casey Wasserman sought to downplay the furore over the travel restrictions imposed by US President Donald Trump.”We have no concerns,” he said on Friday. “We have enjoyed sharing the story of LA with the Olympic movement and its members.”When we raised our hand it’s because we believed in the power of the movement to unite the world and that was to unite the world through sport not politics.

”We’re sure the merits of our bid are strong. I’m confident the members of the IOC will see it as that.”But the comments came on the same day Iran officials said they would deny visas to US wrestlers for the Freestyle World Cup later this month.Friday’s three dossiers arriving at IOC headquarters in Lausanne related to “Games Delivery, Experience and Venue Legacy”.They concentrate on the proposed legacy of their bids.

They must give a firm outline of how the Games and Paralympics would go ahead and details on transport, accommodation, security and what athletes and spectators can expect.Budapest’s bid is under threat of a citizen-led call to hold a referendum on the Hungarian capital’s suitability to stage an event of this magnitude.In Paris, French media reported that the French capital’s bid had promoted its fair ticket pricing for fans.According to L’Equipe half of all tickets would be under 50 euros (£43, $54) and much of those would be under 20 euros.

Also on Friday, the Paris bid unveiled its slogan for the Games, “Made for Sharing”.Paris 2024 co-president Tony Estanguet said an English language slogan was chosen instead of French “to give a universal character to a French project”.

Los Angeles and Paris both boast the fact that most of their sites are already built, with the American city even turning to stadiam used for its 1984 Games.Budapest is making promises to provide global standard facilities.Paris hosted the 1900 and 1924 Games, and missed out to London for the 2012 Olympics.

Los Angeles have also staged two Olympics, in 1932 and 1984.Whichever city is chosen it will succeed Tokyo, the host of the next Games in 2020.

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