Los Angeles is all but guaranteed to host the Summer Games for a third time after Olympic leaders made the unusual decision Tuesday to name two winners in the bid race between L.A. and Paris, giving 2024 to one city and 2028 to the other.
After the historic vote by International Olympic Committee members gathered in Switzerland, one key question remained.
Can the cities agree on who goes second?
“We’re one step closer to making it happen,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters at a news conference in Lausanne. “I have full confidence we will get there.”
Even though his counterpart, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, expressed similar optimism, the French have repeatedly dismissed the idea of waiting another four years. It has been widely speculated that L.A. bid leaders — who have been more flexible on the issue — will seek financial or other concessions in return for accepting 2028.
But if the IOC, L.A. and Paris cannot reach an accord, the final selection in mid-September will revert to a winner-take-all vote for 2024 only.
“We take nothing for granted,” Garcetti said. “Our job now is to work with the IOC, to forge a path forward for our city and for the future of [the Olympic] movement.”
The IOC convened this week’s session amid growing concerns about the massive cost of staging the Games.
In the 2024 race, Boston, Budapest, Hungary, Hamburg, Germany, and Rome backed away in response to public opposition, which IOC President Thomas Bach has labeled as the “new political reality.”
With L.A. and Paris showing support in local polls and insisting they can ease costs by using existing stadiums and arenas, Bach decided his organization might do well to secure both simultaneously.
Tokyo has already been awarded the 2020 Summer Olympics. By naming locations for subsequent two Summer Games, the IOC could buy itself more time to make hosting more affordable and to attract more bids.
Preceding Tuesday’s vote, bid teams from each city gave a presentation of their plan to the membership. France brought along newly elected President Emmanuel Macron.
President Trump did not attend, but tweeted: “Working hard to get the Olympics for the United States (L.A.). Stay tuned!”
IOC members debated the two-winner proposal after lunch, then gave their unanimous approval. Garcetti and Hidalgo appeared unexpectedly on the dais.
“Thank you,” Hidalgo said.
Garcetti added: “Can we just say thank you?”
The mayors summoned Bach to join hands in a salute. The IOC president later said: “Ensuring the stability of the Olympic Games for 11 years is something extraordinary. This is why we think that today, this is a great day for the Olympic Games and the Olympic movement.”
Though there had been some preliminary negotiations involving both cities, the real work was set to begin as early as Tuesday night when the mayors were scheduled to dine with Bach.