The deadline for cities to formally submit intentions to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics is Tuesday. This race will be the first entirely under the direction of the Olympic Agenda 2020 plan, which aims to improve transparency in bidding, reduce costs in bidding and ultimately hosting the Games, and help potential host cities to their advantage, instead of asking cities to build around IOC standards.
The winning city won’t be announced until 2017. Let’s take an early look at the cities who have already entered their name into the race.
If the Summer Olympics wish to return to Europe for the first time since London 2012 (marking a gap of 12 years), Paris would be the favorite. The French capital would be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1924 Olympics held there. But that reason alone doesn’t automatically earn an Olympics. Athens felt it deserved the right to host the 1996 Games to mark a century since the first Olympiad of the modern era, but those Games ended up being in Atlanta.
Still, a Paris win would also make that city a three-time host, which would be the first since London. Having the legacy of being an Olympic city goes a long way and the city has an obvious history of hosting great sporting events. Its resume includes the 1999 FIFA World Cup, 2007 Rugby World Cup, 2003 IAAF Athletics World Championships as well as annual events including Le Tour de France and the French Open. A successful bid would rely on using existing infrastructures, with only an aquatics centre and an athletes’ village being the big ticket items that would need to be built from scratch.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA
Just like Paris, Los Angeles is aiming to be a three-time host of the Olympics. The Summer Games have been held in LA in 1932 and 1984, with the latter considered the most successful financially after turning a profit. Los Angeles wasn’t the USOC’s first choice, but after the Boston bid fell through, LA came to the rescue and will rely on existing venues to host a cost-effective 2024 Olympics.
The Games haven’t been in the United States since 2002, when the Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake. The last Summer edition to be held in the U.S. was Atlanta in 1996. With the IOC looking for cities that can host for (relatively) cheap, Los Angeles is considered to be a strong contender, if not the favorite, to win the race. Also considering that the IOC’s relationship with both NBC and the USOC is very strong, LA may be rewarded with the hopes of creating a positive image for the Olympic movement moving forward.
I’d consider Rome as the dark horse in this race. It’s a solid choice but not exactly the favorite in the race. Rome offers a very historic and cultural setting, with a proposal to hold medal ceremonies inside the Colosseum. The Italian capital has prior Olympic experience as the site of the 1960 Summer Games. Many of those venues would be used again, including the Foro Italico complex that has stadiums for soccer and athletics as well as venues for swimming, which were used when Rome hosted the FINA Aquatics World Championships back in 2009.
But the city is still trying to recover from a recent corruption scandal that has tarnished its image. On the other hand, an Olympics could help re-brand the city and diminish that negative chapter to just a footnote. The city has bid several times for an Olympic Games, most recently for the 2020 Games. Rome withdrew from that race because of poor economic conditions. Italy last hosted an Olympics in 2006, when the Winter Games came to Torino.
Should Germany be successful in winning its bid to host the 2024 Olympics, it would mark 52 years between Olympics that the nation has hosted. Hamburg has never hosted an Olympic Games but the mayor is marketing the city as a “Gateway To The World” that can pull off a transparent, compact, and modern Games.
The problem is that there isn’t anything that particularly makes Hamburg stick out as an Olympic host city. We’ve heard the buzz words “compact” and “modern” before and “transparent” is a new one to use after Olympic Agenda 2020 was passed. The city is set to hold a public referendum among its residents on November 29.
There’s no question that Germany can pull off a great sporting event. The country hosted the 2006 FIFA World Cup and 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. It’s currently hosting EuroBasket. Munich was the last German city to host the Olympics, back in 1972, marred by the terrorist attacks on Israeli athletes. Munich previously bid to host the 2018 Olympics, only to lose to Pyeongchang.
The Hungarian capital hopes to bring the Games to the country for the first time ever. It’s the underdog in the race, and the bid committee is embracing that role. Budapest does have public and government support and looks to prove that it can host an Olympics under the model of Olympic Agenda 2020.
While it’s never hosted an Olympics, Budapest is getting set to host the 2017 FINA Aquatics championships. In addition, Hungary is one of the 10 most successful medal-winning nations to have never hosted the Olympics.
THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS
The key for the IOC is to make sure that it doesn’t lose cities like it did for the 2022 Winter Olympics, which ended up being a two-horse race between Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, with the Games ultimately getting awarded to the Chinese capital.
If there’s anything that’s certain, it’s that these Games are destined to go to either North America or Europe after the three previous Games held before 2024 will be hosted by East Asian cities. And with 2024 possibly becoming a pivotal year for the future of the Olympic movement, look for the IOC to award these Games to an experienced host city that can promise transparency and a profit.