The International Olympic Committee has unanimously approved a plan to award both the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games at once, a move that could bring the Games back to both Paris and Los Angeles in the coming years.
Meeting at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC voted to move forward with the so-called “tripartite plan” proposed by President Thomas Bach to award both Games simultaneously at the IOC’s Sept. 13 meeting in Lima, Peru. If the IOC is able to work out a deal with both cities, and both have indicated initial willingness to do so, the plan will secure the IOC’s summer slate for more than a decade.
The reasons for the unconventional decision—the IOC prefers to award the Games one at a time to maximize both drama and opportunity for cities to bid—are rooted in the changing reality of the Olympic Games. Cities have wised up to the astronomical cost and financial repercussions of hosting the Olympics; the IOC was facing a future where only authoritarian regimes with total control of their nations’ treasuries would be lining up to host Games.
Combine that with the fact that candidates Paris and Los Angeles are two of the world’s leading cities—stable, wealthy, established, experienced at hosting major events—and the IOC realized that it had an unexpected bounty on its hands. Awarding the Games to one city almost certainly meant losing the other as a future candidate. Paris has failed twice in recent years to land bids, and two major United States cities—New York and Chicago—have also fallen far short of winning the Games.
“We can’t afford to lose the United States,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said regarding the Olympics. “Both [United States and French officials] will find it more and more difficult to convince cities—whether it’s Paris, Los Angeles or other American cities—to really go into this process if one of us gets turned down.”
Paris is favored to win the 2024 bid, a century after it first hosted the Olympics. Both cities made presentations on Tuesday touting their merits and their intent to host the 2024 Games. The French delegation included President Emmanuel Macron, who noted, “Our desire is to organize the Games in 2024. There is no ambiguity about that.”
Los Angeles struck a somewhat more restrained note. “The star of our bid is our bid. We’re not looking to try to wow people by who we bring,” Garcetti said, adding, “Los Angeles is ready to throw these Olympics in two months if we were asked, or two decades if it came to that.”
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.