Momentum is building for the International Olympic Committee to award its next two available Summer Games, 2024 and 2028, in one fell swoop to the two remaining 2024 candidates: Paris and Los Angeles. The decision could happen as soon as next month, in a meeting called in Lausanne, Switzerland for June 9.
While the IOC prefers the spectacle and spotlight that comes with a single-Games, single-city award announcement, IOC officials are recognizing that they have a rare opportunity on their hands here: two world-class, stable, low-risk, established cities from wealthy nations, two cities with legacy experience hosting Olympics (two apiece). The IOC recognizes that rejecting one of the two cities likely means losing that city as an Olympic host for the next time around, and possibly for decades to come, so why not feed both birds that they have in hand?
The move toward dual-city, dual-hosting gained steam back in December, when IOC president Thomas Bach noted that the current system of selecting host cities produces “too many losers.” It’s a curious sentiment given that the Olympics is all about producing rafts of losers and only one winner, but then the winner of the 100-meter dash isn’t footing a multi-billion-dollar tab to host the race.
Plus, there’s the fact that hosting the Olympics has become something of an arms race, with autocracies leveraging their nations’ treasuries and workforces to create, and pay for, Olympic experiences far beyond their means. The stories of Olympic facilities abandoned and left to rot are legion, from decades gone by right on through this past summer’s Rio Games, and the IOC is sensitive to the fact that bid cities see this wreckage and are bailing out on the enormous price tag of hosting.
The 2024 Games’ host winner isn’t scheduled to be announced until September in Lima, Peru. But the June meeting could take a bit of wind out of those sails. Of course, both cities would have to agree to the idea, and one city would have to agree to put its hosting dreams on hold for another four years. Both sites offer compelling possibilities for hosting, with Los Angeles preaching fiscal and environmental responsibility, and Paris focusing on a compact Games with high visual flair. Both would bring stability to a bidding process that in recent years has been turbulent and fraught with criticism.