Budapest will withdraw its bid to host the 2024 Olympics, leaving Los Angeles and Paris as the two candidate cities for an IOC vote to determine the host in September.
The decision was made to avoid “a loss of international prestige” for Hungary, with its governing party saying the bid had a very small chance of success, according to The Associated Press.
The move comes five days after Budapest’s mayor said he may propose withdrawing the bid due to more than 250,000 signatures collected urging a public vote on whether to bid. The Hungarian prime minister and Budapest mayor were to meet Wednesday to discuss the bid.
Previously, Hamburg and Rome withdrew their 2024 Olympic bids. Hamburg’s bid ended in November 2015 after 51.6 percent of voters in the port city were against the bid. Rome squashed its bid in October after opposition from its new mayor.
The last time two or fewer cities were finalists for a Summer Olympics was 1988, when Seoul beat out Nagoya, Japan, in an IOC vote.
The 2022 Winter Olympics also came down to two cities, with Beijing defeating Almaty, Kazakhstan.
It is possible that both the 2024 and 2028 Olympics could be awarded at the IOC session in Lima, Peru, in September.
“This is a discussion,” IOC president Thomas Bach said on Saturday, according to the AP. “It also depends on the timing. This is, you know, why I appreciate also the public discussion.
“There are many options.”
Los Angeles and Paris are bidding to host the Olympics for a third time, which only one other city has done — London. Los Angeles previously hosted in 1932 and 1984. Paris hosted in 1900 and 1924.
The U.S. is in the midst of its longest stretch between hosting the Olympics since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960. It last hosted a Summer Games in 1996 and a Winter Games in 2002.
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