On September 13th, 2017, IOC President Thomas Bach announced that the IOC had officially awarded the 2024 Summer Olympic & Paralympic Games to Paris, and simultaneously gave Los Angeles the 2028 Games.
Though both cities had originally vied for the privilege of hosting the 2024 Games, it was really no surprise that Paris took 2024 while LA contented itself to host an Olympics still more than a decade away. Finally holding to its own Olympic vision, the IOC chose candidates that were both economical and robust in pre-existing infrastructure, and that had a real legacy plan for their cities when the Olympics ended.
Before the IOC made its decision it considered the political climate of each country, the potential economic impact on each city and region, sanitation, and technological infrastructure, among other factors–items that would each cause their own unique troubles for Rio de Janeiro. But what about things beyond human control, namely, the environment?
Though swimming and many other sports take place in climate-controlled settings such as natatoriums and indoor arenas, other sports such as rowing, marathon running, and open water swimming must take place outdoors.
The name “Summer Olympics” quite implies warm weather and sunshine, but no one wants to run a 26.2 miles if the temperature is 100° Fahrenheit (38º Celsius), like it’s prone to be in Phoenix, Arizona, any given July day. Paris and LA, fortunately, each have temperate summers.
Per the Paris 2024 Candidature File (“bid book”):
Paris in summer is an idyllic setting in which to experience major sporting events, celebrations and visits to unparalleled cultural, historic and recreational spots. The weather conditions during the Games period will ensure athletes can perform at their absolute best, with little rain, average daytime temperatures of 23.5°C (74º Fahrenheit), and an average humidity of 53%.
In Marseille, Sailing competitors can reliably enjoy warm, sunny days with constant winds and calm waters.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, enjoys a “Mediterranean climate” and is on average a little hotter than Paris, with average July and August temperatures between 81 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit (27-29º Celsius).
And while the timing of the Summer Games may seem obvious, there has always been a fluctuation as to when exactly a city will host the Olympics. The 2016 Rio Olympics took place entirely in August, meanwhile London 2012 began at the end of July and ended in mid-August. Tokyo 2020 will have a similar timeline to London, while Paris 2024 will be more similar to Rio.
Rio de Janeiro, which is in the Southern Hemisphere, falls within the Tropic of Capricorn, while Sydney, Australia, lies a ways south. The 2000 Sydney Olympics began on September 15th and lasted until October 1st. Hardly a “Summer” Games for citizens of the United States, and more of a “Spring” Olympics for Australia.
If Sydney’s timing seems unusually late for a Summer Olympics, consider that the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City didn’t open until October 12th, and concluded on October 27th. Even so, Mexico City finds itself out-done by Melbourne, Australia, which hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics between November 22nd and December 8th, a timeline which implores one to reconsider the very title “Summer Olympics,” since the Games only really take place during the summer season for half of the world.
The chart below provides a quick visualization of the three upcoming Summer Olympic Games’ schedules versus those of every Summer Games since Sydney 2000. Paris 2024 finds itself wholly within the month of August, while Los Angeles 2028 will mostly occur in July. Tokyo 2020, meanwhile, is almost evenly split between the two.