Casey Wasserman, LA 2024 chairman and CEO of Wasserman Media Group, describes Los Angeles’ Olympic bid and what sets it apart.
USA TODAY Sports
LAUSANNE — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo couldn’t help themselves. With the International Olympic Committee unanimously approving a plan that could allow both cities to secure an Olympics, the two mayors burst on stage to interrupt the session and say thank you.
It offered a brief moment of celebration for IOC President Thomas Bach, who has been pushing for a dual award for months. After they took the stage at the SwissTech Convention Center, Bach hugged both mayors and raised their hands as if in victory.
It was an historic moment for the IOC, one that gives them the opportunity to secure the future of the Summer Olympics for more than a decade. It was historic for two cities that have endured several failed attempts to host the Games, with both mayors expressing confidence they can reach an agreement.
“It’s a great day also for these two wonderful cities, these two great Olympic cities, that today we have now created, we have built the foundation on which we are very confident we can build the win-win-win situation we are all longing for,” Bach said.
To be sure, it did not have the drama of the IOC’s envelope-opening moment. Neither city has officially secured the Olympics, but both are one step closer.
Los Angeles and Paris must reach a tripartite agreement with the IOC that will determine which city gets 2024 and which gets 2028. But the mayors’ moment of celebration, close friendship and desire to host the Games make it more likely a deal can be reached before the IOC meets in Lima on Sept. 13.
If they do reach an agreement, the IOC membership would ratify it then.
“I’m thrilled we’re one step closer to making that happen, and I have full confidence that we will get there,” Garcetti said, going on to thank Angelenos for supporting the effort.
“For the first time in a generation, we’re going to bring you an Olympics home,” he told them.
Hidalgo was equally committed to working out a deal.
“I pledge all my creativity, all my efforts, all my desire to reach this agreement so Paris can get back to this wonderful adventure that it has been waiting for 100 years,” she said. “We want the Games in Paris.”
The IOC vote followed nearly 90 minutes of debate among IOC members. Many raised questions about how the process would work, but largely the members supported the idea.
“It buys us some time to take a longer term view of how we attract and encourage and deal with the candidate cities,” said Canadian IOC member Dick Pound.
Said Dutch IOC member Camiel Eurlings, “It was just two outstanding bids. If you look at the presentation of LA and you look at the presentation of Paris, you want to be there. You want it to happen. That is a very fortunate situation where two such iconic cities being strongly motivated to do it, you want to have them both. It’s too beautiful an offer to all of the world to let one of them not happen.”
As part of its vote, the IOC appointed the 2024 evaluation commission to look at the bids for 2028, paying special attention to the questions raised by IOC members during the session. That commission last week issued a report that found both to be “outstanding” and capable of hosting the Games.
In their comments after the vote, Garcetti and Hidalgo — two friends who work together on several issues — made clear it’s likely a deal would be worked out. But neither would comment on how open their respective bids are to hosting in 2028.
“I am very confident in starting this historic process in which we will be negotiating a tripartite agreement,” Hidalgo said.
Added Garcetti, “I would be happy to help the Los Angeles or Paris Games organize in 2028. We are going to have a partnership no matter what.”
Paris has taken a harder line stance since discussions of the dual award started, saying it could only take the 2024 Games because it only has secured the land in Seine-Saint-Denis for its athletes village for that Olympics.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, has praised the IOC for considering the dual award but bid leaders said they were only focused on 2024 because that’s all they could bid for.
Now with the vote passed, the mayors will look at what a later Olympics would mean for their cities.
Bach said he expects the leaders of the bid committees — chairman Casey Wasserman for LA and co-president Tony Estanguet for Paris — to negotiate the agreement. Each must get the approval from its National Olympic Committee, as well.
Whichever city opts for the 2028 Olympics will have myriad hurdles, including securing the venues and financial guarantees. But Bach said he hoped an agreement could be in place in August if all goes well.
“This is a golden opportunity,” Bach said at the start of the session. “It is hard to imagine something better.”