The bidding process for the 2024 Olympic Games is perhaps one of the most interesting in history. Originally five cities–Hamburg (Germany), Rome (Italy), Budapest (Hungary), Paris (France), and Los Angeles (USA)–all wanted the “honor” of hosting the 2024 Games. However, one by one the cities withdrew their bids until only LA and Paris remained.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) expressed interest in awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Games at its Session in Lima on September 13 of this year. Awarding both iterations of the Games at the same time would save the IOC from undergoing the bidding process anew with other, possibly less-qualified cities, interested in hosting the 2028 Games. Additionally, it would give either LA or Paris nearly 11 years to prepare for the Games. But the Olympics are never that easy.
Tony Estanguet, chairman of Paris 2024, said there will be “no Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris in 2028” if the French bid for the 2024 Games is foiled. Similarly, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has reiterated that LA is competing for 2024 and is not focused on 2028. Both cities have made cases for 2024: Concerning Paris, the French assert that if the City of Lights does not host the Games in 2024 it will not be able to build on the land earmarked for the Olympic Village in Seine-Saint-Denis, as it will be unavailable by that time. LA has taken a more business-like approach and is focused on “re-branding” the Olympics, similar to what LA did with the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. Garcetti states that LA is unique in its qualifications to host the Olympics, as it already has the infrastructure in place which would make for a “ready to play” Olympics. Polls in Los Angeles also show that nearly nine out of 10 people want to host the Olympics; many cities, including Budapest, have withdrawn bids due to broad public backlash and petitioning against would-be Olympic organizers.
Athletes have speculated that US President Donald Trump’s immigration ban and his hostile stance towards sanctuary cities could cost LA the 2024 bid. LA is a sanctuary city itself, meaning that city authorities have refused to divulge information on residents that immigrated to the city by side-stepping the legal immigration process. On the other hand, Garcetti’s case that LA would be a “ready-to-play” city requiring minimal construction, making it more cost-effective, could sway the IOC, especially given the neglect that is already manifest in Rio’s Olympic venues, which were constructed specifically for the 2016 Games. And while President Trump’s immigration policies could deter the IOC, so too could the rhetoric of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen who has campaigned on an anti-immigration and nationalistic platform. The course the IOC takes will likely be easier to predict once the French elections wrap up in early April.
Though Garcetti has stated that LA is focused on 2024, he has not declared absolutely that the city would be adverse to the 2028 Games, only that LA is not focused on “something way-off in the future.” However, if Paris were to win the 2024 bid and LA refused to host the 2028 Games, the door could be open for Russia or Australia, both of which have expressed interest in hosting the 2028 Summer Games.