And again we witness yet another twist in the stuttering race for the 2024 Olympics. This time, finally, for the better? Could the IOC really have found a ‘magic cure’?
The proposal is not new but now it has received an official endorsement. The IOC Executive Board has paved the way to award both the 2024 and the 2028 Olympics this year, to Paris and Los Angeles or vice versa, without another lenghty application process. The idea behind it is clear: From the IOC’s perspective, the 2024 campaign, which saw an unprecedented withdrawal of three candidate cities, has been devastating and severely damaged the IOC’s reputation. They cannot risk having the same mess over and over again. They cannot risk having close to noone applying to host the Games.
Indeed there are advantages to the proposal. The host cities, the IOC, IFs and all other stakeholders would have a decade of secure planning. The 2028 host, technically the ‘loser’ for 2024, would have four additional years to prepare for and organize their Games. And indeed, they could save money by not having to apply a second time.
But the Executive Board appears to be missing three vital points. First of all, it has to be said that those responsible for the mess that is the 2024 election process right now, and actually for the entire mess the Olympic Movement is in right now, are not to be found in Hamburg or Rome or Budapest. Those responsible are the same people who now want to interfere in an already running contest, in a desperate effort to find an easy way out.
And here’s the second problem: there is no easy way out! It should have raised every alarm for the Movement a long time ago that ever fewer cities, especially in Europe and North America, want to host the Olympic Games, Summer and Winter. For the second time in a row we now have a decision between just two candidates, and at the moment it doesn’t look that much better for the 2026 Winter Olympics. But instead of really addressing the issues, answering the concerns of potential hosts, applying full transparency, reducing the cost, scrapping ridiculous demands, taking the fight against Doping seriously, and finally, finally, finally, beginning to promote the Olympic values again and act accordingly, the Executive Board is still resorting to mere cosmetic changes. It becomes more and more apparent that they just don’t realize or don’t want to realize the grave danger they themselves, together with certain officials at a number of IFs, NOCs or even national governments, have created for the Olympic Movement.
What’s the third point, you may ask. Oh, just another minor issue. It’s just that, the candidates are against it… Both Paris and Los Angeles have made it very clear that their application is for 2024, and 2024 only. Paris has stated that much of the area required for additional venues and the Olympic Village would no longer be available by 2028. Los Angeles claims, it’s plan would also not be so easily adaptable for a later hosting and reiterates that the contest was to be for 2024 from the onset.
While one could argue that in accordance with Agenda 2020 a really sustainable planning for the Games should ensure some flexibility concerning the candidature, the candidates’ position is absolutely understandable. Other cities vying for a 2028 bid might be quite upset as well. That is, if there were any…
To conclude: the idea of awarding two consecutive editions of the Olympics jointly is an intriguing concept for the future, but certainly not enough to resolve the current disastrous situation of the entire election process. And for 2024/28 the idea is, plainly speaking, dead.
Unless, well, unless the IOC finds some way, any way, of convincing one of the cities to step back and agree with hosting in 2028. How could they do that? I’ll leave that to your imagination…