After much deliberation, five cities have officially thrown their names into the hat to host the 2024 Olympics. Paris, Rome, Los Angeles, Hamburg and Budapest will all go head-to-head in a battle to land the biggest sporting event on earth. The winner will be elected in September 2017, at a meeting in Lima, during a vote featuring all of the IOC members. Unlike previous years, all of the bidders will take part in the final vote.
Of the five candidates, the early favourites are Los Angeles and Paris. This is understandable. After all, both have already hosted the games twice and have the infrastructure needed to cope with such a gigantic event. In Paris’ case, the fact that they last hosted the games in 1924 might tug on the heartstrings of voters, eager to see them return to the French capital after exactly 100 years.
Los Angeles’ claim is good thanks to the fact that, by 2024, the Olympics won’t have been hosted in North America for 28 years. It’s also the case that the IOC have been pretty clear that they want a North American city to lodge a bid. After Toronto eventually decided to drop out, and Boston also made way, it left Los Angeles as the only hope for the continent. It’s also significant that relations between the IOC and American Olympic organisers have recently improved, paving the way for a more realistic shot at getting the games.
The other three cities are, for the moment anyway, considered the underdogs. This is especially the case for Rome, as they recently pulled out of the race for the 2020 event – a race that was eventually won by Tokyo. Will voters hold this against them when the 2024 voting comes around? It is also worth mentioning that Hamburg is going to put hosting the Olympics to a vote, so they could pull out if the vote doesn’t go well. Current signs are good though, with a huge majority of people from the city supporting the idea.
Budapest, the final contender, is an outsider simply due to its lack of experience in hosting big events. What’s more, the infrastructure in the city might not be up to the standards expected by the IOC. Big promises are being made though, and a games in Eastern Europe would certainly be something different to the norm – only one other city from the region has ever hosted the competition, when Moscow staged the Olympics in 1980.
While Budapest, Rome and Hamburg are the underdogs, they can’t be counted out of the race quite yet. After all, both London and Rio were underdogs once, and just look what happened to them. A lot will happen between now and the vote, so there’s no telling who the winner will be when the vote happens in Lima…