Toronto will not bid for the 2024 Olympics, leaving Los Angeles and four European cities to vie to be chosen as the Summer Games host by International Olympic Committee members in 2017.
“I can’t look people in the eye at this point in our city’s development and tell them that an Olympic bid is the best use of our time, our energy, or our investment,” Toronto mayor John Tory said in a news conference Tuesday, the deadline for bid submissions.
Los Angeles and Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome are the bidders.
It’s the first time since 1984 that no cities outside of the U.S. and Europe bid for a Summer Olympics.
Toronto officials discussed joining the 2024 Olympic bid race this summer, after Canada’s most populous city concluded hosting the Pan American Games on July 26, and as far back as three years ago.
“Toronto can be an Olympic city; we are already a world class city,” Tory said Tuesday. “I have no doubt, the Olympic Games is a significant opportunity that would put the eyes of the world on Toronto. I love this city, and I want nothing more than to show the world our spirit, our people, our strength and our values.
“And I believe that one day, Toronto will be a great venue for the Olympic Games. But not in 2024.”
“I am not saying no to the Olympics. I am saying “not this time.”
Canada’s Postmedia News agency reported Monday that Calgary and Quebec City may be 2026 Winter Olympic bid candidates. The U.S., which has not bid for a Winter Games since it hosted in Salt Lake City in 2002, is not expected to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics as its focus is on Los Angeles 2024.
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.
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 failed 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 (CBC video report of that defeat here), 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.
The Ontario capital could have tried to follow in the path of Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the 2007 Pan American Games and won the bidding for the 2016 Olympics two years later.
Canada hosted the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, the Calgary 1988 Winter Games and the Montreal 1976 Summer Games.