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New Rome mayor opposes 2024 Olympic bid

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ROME (AP) — Rome’s bid for the 2024 Olympics is in serious trouble with the city’s new mayor maintaining her opposition to the candidacy.

“My position isn’t changing. Right now it’s really not a priority for Romans,” Virginia Raggi told Euronews on Wednesday in her first interview since being elected.

Raggi pointed to spiraling deficits in Olympic cities.

“Already with 13 billion euros ($15 billion) in debt, Rome can’t permit taking on more debt to make cathedrals in the desert,” she said.

Representing the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, Raggi won a runoff Sunday to become Rome’s first female mayor and, at age 37, also its youngest.

Raggi said her opposition to the bid has nothing to do with fears of corruption or Mafia involvement.

“My ‘no’ is very clear. It starts with the numbers,” she said. “Historical data from the Olympics — discounting eventual episodes of corruption — shows us that the costs are not sustainable. Other cities have already withdrawn their bids for these reasons. And I don’t think they were thinking about corruption or Mafia infiltrations.”

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago acknowledged Tuesday that IOC rules for candidates require undivided support from the city, the Olympic committee and the government, and that if one of those pulls out, “we would be too weak.”

Raggi said during her campaign that she wants to focus on “everyday items before extraordinary ones.”

However, previous Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino formally submitted Rome’s 2024 bid to the International Olympic Committee last year after a city council vote showed overwhelming support.

The other 2024 bidders are Budapest, Hungary; Los Angeles; and Paris. The IOC will select the host city in September 2017.

If Raggi continues to oppose the bid, the candidacy could be decided in a referendum.

If the bid is rejected, it would mark Rome’s second withdrawal in four years after then-premier Mario Monti in 2012 stopped Rome’s plans to bid for the 2020 Games because of fiscal conditions.

VIDEO: Paris 2024 officials caught touring Los Angeles

Paris 2024 bid committee caught touring Los Angeles venues (video)

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  A general view of the exterior of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is seen prior to the start of the game between the Oregon State Beavers and the USC Trojans on September 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Los Angeles is considered to be a front-runner in the bidding race to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. Paris is thought to be a strong contender as well.

And it appears as if leaders of the Paris 2024 bid are checking out their competition.

According to NBC Los Angeles and the L.A. Times, the rival bidders spent time Wednesday taking pictures and recording video of venues on the University of Southern California campus.

“While surprising, we have no objection to Paris 2024 leaders wanting to tour our venues because they are not secrets,” LA 2024 spokesman Jeff Millman said.

Rome and Budapest are also bidding on the 2024 Games. The IOC will announce the winner at its conference in Lima, Peru, in September 2017.

NBC Los Angeles caught the Paris bid committee on camera:

MORE: Will Ferrell, Olympic champions star in LA 2024 bid video

Budapest 2024 Olympic bid logo unveiled

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Budapest has presented the logo for its bid to host 2024 Olympics.

The logo, which includes references to the Danube River and the Olympic rings, was designed by Budapest’s Graphasel Design Studio and chosen from nearly 200 entries.

The ceremony held Thursday high above the city on Gellert Hill included Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos, Hungarian Olympic Committee chairman Zsolt Borkai and Balazs Furjes, the government official in charge of the Olympic bid.

A series of sporting and cultural events were also being held across the city to familiarize citizens with the bid and some of the Olympic sports.

The other bidders are Los Angeles, Paris and Rome.

The International Olympic Committee will select the host city in September 2017.

MORE: LA 2024 logo | Paris 2024 logo | Rome 2024 logo

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