This was one of those rare Olympic moments where everyone walked away a winner.
Paris for 2024. Los Angeles for 2028. And the International Olympic Committee for transforming an unruly bidding process to lock down its future by choosing not one, but two Summer Olympics hosts at the same time.
The IOC put the rubber stamp on a pre-determined conclusion Wednesday, giving Paris the 2024 Games and LA the 2028 Games in a history-making vote.
The decision marks the first time the IOC has granted two Summer Olympics at once. It came after a year’s worth of scrambling by IOC president Thomas Bach, who had only the two bidders left for the original prize, 2024, and couldn’t bear to see either lose.
Both cities will host their third Olympics.
The Paris Games will come on the 100th anniversary of its last turn — a milestone that would have made the French capital the sentimental favourite had only 2024 been up for grabs.
Los Angeles moved to 2028, and those Olympics will halt a stretch of 32 years without a Summer Games in the United States. In exchange for the compromise, LA will grab an extra $300 million or more that could help offset the uncertainties that lie ahead over an 11-year wait instead of seven.
Doing away with the dramatic flair that has accompanied these events in years past, there were no secret ballots and no dramatic reveals to close out the voting.
Bach simply asked for a show of hands from the audience, and when dozens shot up from the audience, and nobody raised their hand when he asked for objections, this was deemed a unanimous decision.
A ceremony that has long sparked parties in the plazas of winning cities — and crying in those of the losers — produced more muted, but still visible, shows of emotion. Paris bid organizer Tony Estaguent choked up during the presentation before the vote.
“You can’t imagine what this means to us. To all of us. It’s so strong,” he said.
Later, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo stood by Bach’s side and dabbed away tears as the vote was announced and the IOC president handed the traditional — but now unneeded — to she and LA mayor Eric Garcetti. One read “Paris 2024,’ and the other “Los Angeles 2028.”
But there was no real drama. As if to accentuate that, the LA delegation wore sneakers to the presentation. (Were going to skip neckties, too, but changed their minds late.)
Bid chairman Casey Wasserman said the footwear “reflects who we are, and the unique brand of California-cool that we will bring to the 2028 Games.”
Eddie Pells, The Associated Press