Thomas Bach

It’s official: LA gets 2028 Olympics, Paris gets 2024

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By a show of hands, the IOC confirmed that Paris will host the 2024 Olympics, and Los Angeles will get the 2028 Olympics.

As expected, IOC members approved an agreement made among the two cities and IOC leaders earlier this summer to make the historic double award.

Before that, today’s meeting in Lima, Peru, was scheduled to be a vote between Paris and LA for the 2024 Games only. Recognizing the two strong bids, IOC leaders pushed this spring and summer to award Olympics and Paralympics to both cities this year.

LA and Paris gave 25-minute presentations Wednesday with speeches and videos to IOC members before the show of hands.

The LA 2028 speakers included Olympic champions Allyson FelixJanet Evans and Angela RuggieroMichael Johnson, who turned 50 on Wednesday, was also in attendance.

USOC chairman Larry Probst spoke of perseverance.

The U.S. lost in bidding for 2012 (New York City) and 2016 (Chicago). Its original 2024 bid city, Boston, dropped out two years ago after lack of local support.

For LA, it started with a January 2013 letter from former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to the USOC expressing interest in bidding for the 2024 Olympics. It was signed by Magic Johnson and Tom Hanks.

LA lost to Boston in the initial competition to be the U.S. host city before taking over quickly after Boston bowed out. It navigated a crowded original 2024 international bid race that saw Rome, Hamburg and Budapest all drop out.

“It has been a formidable journey to get here, but we never gave up hope,” Probst said in his speech Wednesday.

Paris’ presentation included a video titled, “24 words for Paris 2024” that featured Olympic judo champion Teddy Riner and Neymar, the Brazilian soccer gold medalist who last month transferred from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.

MORE: Paris Olympic bid plan includes Eiffel Tower area

Additionally, French president Emmanuel Macron spoke in a pre-recorded video.

“I wanted to re-emphasize here the full commitment of a whole country behind these Games,” Macron said. “In our world today, defending the values of Olympism also means working for greater balance, more multilateralism and towards a more inclusive, more sustainable society.”

The last time two Olympic hosts were determined at once was in 1921, when the 1924 Paris and 1928 Amsterdam Games were awarded, according to Olympstats.com. LA and Paris will join London as the only cities to host the Olympics three times.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996). Paris will host for the first time since 1924.

The U.S. ends its longest drought between hosting an Olympics since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960. It failed in bids for 2012 (New York City) and 2016 (Chicago).

Paris was a finalist for 1992, 2008 and 2012.

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IOC warns 2018 Olympic organizers of white elephant venues

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The International Olympic Committee warned organizers in Pyeongchang on Thursday that they risk creating white elephants from 2018 Winter Games venues.

Completing a final full inspection visit before the Feb. 9 opening ceremony, an IOC panel predicted a successful Olympics but said “definitive legacy use for several venues is still outstanding.”

“The IOC has once again requested that final plans be presented as a priority,” the Olympic body said in a statement.

Olympic venues that lie underused after the Games is a longstanding problem, and lately hurt the reputation of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The IOC voiced its concern in South Korea “despite legacies being identified in the bid and different options being presented over the past seven years.”

The statement after a three-day visit by the IOC’s coordination panel did not mention political tensions fueled by North Korea’s missile testing program. Olympic events will take place less than 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the demilitarized zone between the Korean neighbors.

On a weekend visit to China, North Korea’s closest ally, IOC President Thomas Bach played down fears of disruption.

“We are watching the situation, but I think there is no reason for any immediate concern because the fact that the Games are taking place there is appreciated by all the national Olympic committees and by the governments,” Bach said in Beijing.

Organizers in Pyeongchang remain upbeat that the two-week Winter Games will promote South Korea, which has also been distracted by a political corruption scandal and presidential impeachment.

“We want to make these the best Winter Games ever and showcase Korea to the world as a global leader in sports and as the new hub for winter sports in Asia,” said Lee Hee-beom, president of the organizing committee.

Slow ticket sales, at home and abroad, plus low-key promotion in South Korea have also been identified as priorities to work on. A new phase of ticket sales starts next week.

“While details must continue to be refined in the coming months, it was evident that the organizing committee is well on its way to delivering successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” said Gunilla Lindberg, who chairs the IOC inspection panel.

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IOC president open to unified Korean Olympic team in PyeongChang

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach said Friday that he is open to the possibility of a unified Korean team at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Speaking in Muju, 240 kilometers (150 miles) south of Seoul, on the final day of the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships, Bach told a media conference that he would discuss the issue with South Korea President Moon Jae-in.

At the opening ceremony of the championships, Moon, currently in the United States to visit U.S. President Donald Trump, raised the possibility of the two countries participating together.

“We have noted with great appreciation the message of President Moon to see the Olympic Games as a possibility for dialogue and reconciliation,” said Bach, adding that Moon’s comments reflected the Olympic spirit.
“What this could mean for the 2018 Winter Games and what could be done in respect, we’ll discuss this Monday with President Moon once he’s back from his state visit to the U.S.”

Bach, a former Olympic fencer, confirmed that regardless of any joint team, the IOC was ready to assist North Korea’s involvement at Pyeongchang.

“The position of the IOC is very clear,” he said. “We have already invited the DPRK (North Korea) to participate in the Winter Games in 2018. We are supporting athletes in order to assist them to qualify for the Olympic Games.”

Earlier this week, however, North Korea’s sole member of the IOC, Chang Ung, was cautious when talking to South Korean media.

“It’s only hypothetical, and many different departments at the IOC are involved,” said Chang. “We should stop this discussion. We should only talk about what’s practically possible. I think it’s going to be very difficult.”

While the two Koreas, technically still at war since an armistice brought hostilities to an end in 1953, have marched together at the opening ceremonies at various Olympic tournaments in the past, they have never sent a unified team to compete on that stage.

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