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Paris, Los Angeles prepare to celebrate Olympic award


International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the 131st IOC Session in Lima.
 LIMA, Sept 13: The International Olympic Committee will confirm Paris and Los Angeles as hosts for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics here today, crowning two cities at the same time in a historic first for the embattled sports body.After a week that has seen the IOC forced onto the defensive over mounting corruption allegations, the Olympic movement will bask in a welcome jolt of good news as the two cities celebrate their respective awards.

Both will go through the formalities of outlining their bids in 25-minute presentations to the IOC membership starting at 12pm (1700 GMT) local time at Lima Convention Centre.

At 1pm (1800 GMT) the IOC will vote to ratify the deal, bringing to an end a mostly amicable campaign that has been stripped of the usual drama and intrigue ever since Paris and Los Angeles agreed to split 2024 and 2028 in July.

“It’s a big win and we are here to really enjoy it,” said Paris 2024 bid co-chief Tony Estanguet, reflecting the triumphant mood among the 60-strong French delegation in the Peruvian capital.

Los Angeles officials meanwhile insist they are more than satisfied with the outcome, rejecting suggestions that their failure to win the 2024 Games represented a defeat.

The California metropolis will receive roughly USD 100 million more than Paris 2024 in IOC funding for 2028, and will also benefit from a USD 180 million interest-free advance which means the city can begin to create a sporting legacy well before the Games take place in 11 years’ time.

“We think the result is extraordinary,” Los Angeles 2028 bid chief Casey Wasserman told AFP. “We’ll be celebrating on Wednesday night.”

IOC President Thomas Bach, the driving force behind the double award, described the candidacies as a “golden opportunity”.

“For the IOC it would have been a huge mistake not to seize this golden opportunity,” said Bach.

Paris and Los Angeles emerged from the initial bidding race for the 2024 Games after a number of cities which withdrew citing waning public support and concerns over budget.

Hamburg, Rome, Budapest and Boston all fell by the wayside during the competition, reflecting the political difficulties in persuading voters that staging the Olympics is worth the multi-billion-dollar price tag.

It mirrored a similar trend in the bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, when only two cities – Beijing and Almaty threw their hats into the ring. Eight years earlier, seven cities had bid.

Bach first signalled publicly that the double-award of an Olympics could be on the agenda in December last year, lamenting that the bidding process produced “too many losers”.

As the tussle for 2024 unfolded, and as the field thinned to leave just Los Angeles and Paris, the IOC’s determination to secure two high-quality bids for the next two summer games became apparent. – AFP

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