Toronto mayor says Olympic bid possible

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Canadian officials plan to decide whether to move forward with a Toronto Olympic bid after the Pan American and Parapan American Games finish Aug. 15, Toronto mayor John Tory said Wednesday.

“We obviously discussed this morning the success of the Pan Am Games … and that leads to the question not just with respect to the Olympics but there’s a whole host [of events],” Tory said in a Wednesday morning news conference with Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne. “There’s a whole variety of international events and sporting competitions that we’re now in a position to host, which I think is good for Toronto, good for Ontario and good for Canada, and the Olympics is one of those, obviously, about which there’s great discussion, but the time to make any decision with respect to whether to move forward with that is after these Games are successfully completed, and we have another set of Games that are very important, the Parapan, to carry out, and then to sit down and talk about these things together and decide what’s best in terms of what to go forward with, whether it’s an Olympic bid or a host of other things.

“I guess everything’s on the table until you take it off the table.”

The deadline to submit a bid for the 2024 Olympics is Sept. 15. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Toronto “could be a good candidate,” in a recent CBC interview.

The Toronto city council voted to investigate a 2024 Olympic bid in June 2012, but a city committee voted against bidding on Jan. 20, 2014.

Boston, Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome are the cities that have announced 2024 bids so far.

In 2013, a leading Canadian Olympic official reportedly said a Toronto bid would have a better chance in 2028 than 2024, given the Summer Olympics are in South America in 2016 (Rio de Janeiro) and Asia in 2020 (Tokyo).

“The way IOC does it, the Games go to Europe, the Americas and then somewhere else,” Paul Henderson, former IOC member and the Toronto 1996 Olympic bid chief, told the Toronto Sun. “And what most people don’t realize is that the IOC considers North and South America the same continent. Now there are always funny things once in a while that change that, but normally that’s the thought process.”

If a European city doesn’t win the 2024 Olympics, it will mark the longest stretch between hosting Summer Games for the continent ever, if Moscow 1980 is counted as a European Games.

Toronto came in second place in 2008 bidding, losing to Beijing, and third place in 1996, losing to Atlanta.

The Canadian Olympic Committee began looking into a possible Toronto bid in the 2020s in 2007.

Canada’s largest city could look to follow in the footsteps of Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the 2007 Pan American Games and won the bidding for the 2016 Olympics two years later.

Rio, though, was named as an applicant city 10 months before it hosted the Pan Am Games.

The 2024 Olympic host city will be chosen in an IOC members vote in 2017.

“[The Pan Am Games] could be a stepping stone to the Olympic Games,” then-IOC president Jacques Rogge told CBC in May 2012. “We’ve seen it with Rio, who organized the Pan American Games before being awarded the Olympic Games. I think that’s the same example. To stage well, a big event, that’s important because the Pan American Games is a big event. To stage it well would give a brand to Toronto that they are ready for other organizations.”

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