Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 16 News List

IOC says yes to Paris and Los Angeles


Paris 2024 bid delegation co-chairman Tony Estanguet, left, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, center, and International Olympic Committee member Guy Drut cheer during a committee session in Lima on Wednesday at which Paris and Los Angeles were confirmed as Summer Olympics hosts.

Photo: AFP

This was one of those rare Olympic moments where everyone walked away a winner: Paris for 2024, Los Angeles for 2028 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for transforming an unruly bidding process to lock down its future by choosing not one, but two Summer Olympics hosts at the same time.

The IOC on Wednesday put the rubber stamp on a predetermined conclusion, giving Paris the 2024 Games and Los Angeles the 2028 Games in a history-making vote.

The decision marks the first time the IOC has granted two Summer Olympics at once. It came after a year’s worth of scrambling by IOC president Thomas Bach, who had only the two bidders left for the original prize, 2024, and could not bear to see either lose.

Both cities are to host their third Olympics.

The Paris Games are to arrive on the 100th anniversary of its previous turn — a milestone that would have made the French capital the sentimental favorite had only 2024 been up for grabs.

Los Angeles moved to 2028, and those Olympics are to halt a stretch of 32 years without a Summer Games in the US.

In exchange for the compromise, Los Angeles will grab an extra US$300 million or more that could help offset the uncertainties that lie ahead over an 11-year wait instead of seven.

“We’re ready now,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, speaking to a city that has virtually every sports venue already in place.

Doing away with the dramatic flair that has accompanied these events in years past, there were no secret ballots and no dramatic reveals to close out the voting.

Bach simply asked for a show of hands, and when dozens shot up from the audience, and nobody raised their hand when he asked for objections, this was deemed a unanimous decision.

A ceremony that has long sparked parties in the plazas of winning cities — and crying in those of the losers — produced more muted, but still visible, shows of emotion.

Paris bid organizer Tony Estaguent choked up during the presentation before the vote.

“You can’t imagine what this means to us. To all of us. It’s so strong,” he said.

Later, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo stood by Bach’s side and dabbed away tears as the vote was announced and the IOC president handed the traditional — but now unneeded — cards to her and Garcetti.

One read “Paris 2024,” and the other “Los Angeles 2028.”

However, there was no real drama and as if to accentuate that, the post-vote celebration at the Eiffel Tower was a sparsely attended near rain-out.

Meanwhile, in the Lima exhibition hall, the casual-as-can-be Los Angeles delegation wore sneakers to the presentation and was going to forgo neckties, too, before thinking better of it.

Bid chairman Casey Wasserman said the wardrobe “reflects who we are, and the unique brand of California-cool that we will bring to the 2028 Games.”

Bach asked the 94 IOC members to allow the real contests to play out at the Olympics themselves and transform the vote from a game of sorts into a pure business decision.

It was not such a bad idea considering the news still seeping out about a bid scandal involving a Brazilian IOC member’s alleged vote-selling to take last year’s Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.

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