Sports

Paris set to host 2024 Olympics as LA sets sight on 2028 Games

Paris is celebrating outright victory in its bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games despite cautionary rhetoric from French President Emmanuel Macron and bid leaders following a historic deal with Los Angeles.

Macron hailed the "very important step" on the road to hosting the Games after Los Angeles announced its intent to organise the 2028 Olympics yesterday morning (Singapore time).

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach described it as a "win-win-win" deal for both cities and the Olympic movement.

But, despite the fact that Paris is now effectively the only candidate left for the 2024 Games, Macron and other bid leaders shied away from overt triumphalism.

"France notes the decision of Los Angeles to put forward its candidature for 2028 and to reach an agreement with the IOC and Paris," a statement from Macron's office said.

Macron spoke to Bach following Los Angeles' announcement and was "delighted by this very important step towards France obtaining the Games in 2024".

Both Paris and Los Angeles had wanted to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, with the winner to be officially named by the IOC on Sept 13 in the Peruvian capital Lima.

But the possibility that Los Angeles would abandon a 2024 bid and instead accept the 2028 Games has been growing since the IOC decided last month that it would try award both Games at its Lima meeting.

Paris insisted it wanted to host the Games only in 2024, on the 100th anniversary of the city's 1924 Olympics, which was depicted in the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire.

The French capital, which also hosted the second Summer Olympics in 1900, had failed in their hosting bids in 1992, 2008 and 2012.

Confirmation of the decision everyone was expecting came yesterday morning (Singapore time).

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LA officials, who had put forward a US$5.3 billion (S$9.5b) bid for 2024, said an agreement had been reached with the IOC on financial considerations that would make an extra four-year wait feasible.

It also gives LA, which last hosted the Games 33 years ago, ample time to upgrade its public transportation system.

LA bid chief Casey Wasserman said the IOC had waived various fees and payments that could ultimately save LA organisers millions.

The IOC will also advance US$180 million to LA organisers to lessen the impact of the longer lead-up time, money that normally wouldn't be disbursed until closer to the Games kick-off.

LA mayor Eric Garcetti added: "This deal was too good to pass up."

This brings the Games back to LA for a third time, after the city hosted in 1932 and 1984.

The US last hosted the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 while the 2002 Winter Games were held in Salt Lake City.

The next Summer Olympics in 2020 will be in Tokyo. - WIRE SERVICES

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