GENEVA (AP) — Los Angeles and Paris have been praised by an International Olympic Committee panel for having “outstanding” plans to host the 2024 Summer Games.
Storytelling skills and cutting-edge technologies from LA, plus “stunning backdrops” in Paris where the modern Olympics was reborn, were anticipated eagerly by an IOC evaluation commission which assessed the bidders in a 180-page dossier and 15-minute video published Wednesday.
“Their candidatures have put the Olympic Movement in a win-win situation, with very little to separate the two projects,” said Patrick Baumann, the panel chairman and an IOC member.
Both cities should get hosting rights for the 2024 or 2028 Olympics on Sept. 13, at the IOC’s annual meeting being held in Lima, Peru. Paris is viewed as favorite for 2024.
The evaluation was prepared for IOC members who will meet bid leaders at a key campaign event on July 11-12 in Lausanne. Members are also now expected to ratify the proposal for a double hosting award, which the IOC executive board formally made last month.
Challenges highlighted for the two cities include public transport and traffic management plans in Los Angeles, and new laws needed to guarantee the Paris project which the IOC wants to review in advance.
LA scored better than Paris in the IOC’s own polling of public support for hosting the Summer Games.
It is always unclear in Olympic bidding contests how much the technical analysis of candidates’ plans affect the choice of more than 85 IOC members eligible to vote.
Still, Los Angeles and Paris have long been viewed as high-class, low-risk options. The IOC has seemed grateful to have them after years of spiraling spending and cost overruns by host cities, and public opposition that ended other bids.
IOC President Thomas Bach has pushed for a double award since December, aiming to seize the chance of stability for the next decade.
Seeking to avoid construction costs and creating white elephant venues, LA and Paris are praised for proposing to use existing and temporary arenas for 97 and 93 percent, respectively, of their Summer Games’ needs.
Plans for an athletes’ village have been a potentially key difference between the bids.
LA proposes to use existing student accommodation at UCLA described by Baumann’s team as “outstanding in all aspects.”
The Paris plan to build a $1.45 billion village near the Stade de France, which would host track and field plus the opening and closing ceremonies, has shaped as the riskiest project in either bid.
However, the IOC panel described its “idyllic waterfront setting” and praised the plan to convert the athletes’ residence into “much-needed housing … in one of the youngest, most diverse areas of the city.”
LA scored better than Paris in the IOC-commissioned polls conducted in February which sought the opinions of 1,800 adults at city, regional and national level.
In the city of LA, 78 percent of residents supported the project and 8 percent were opposed. In Paris, it was 63 percent for and 23 percent against.