IOC 'confident' of US finding new host city
THE International Olympic Committee (IOC) said yesterday it was "confident" the United States would find a "strong candidate" to host the 2024 Summer Games, despite Boston pulling out of the contest shortly before a mid-September nomination deadline.
"We are confident that the US will make the right choice and that they can still put forward a strong candidate by Sept 15," the IOC said in a statement from Kuala Lumpur, where it is meeting.
Boston announced on Monday that it was no longer seeking to host the 2024 Games due to lack of public support, with the mayor saying his city's taxpayers could not afford to host the large-scale event.
The US Olympic Committee (Usoc) has until next month to find a replacement, with Los Angeles having shown interest.
"Usoc have made it clear that they would still very much like to see a US city host the Olympic Games 2024," the IOC statement continued.
"We are still in the invitation phase and this is exactly what this phase is for, to allow NOCs (national Olympic committees) and cities to explore a possible bid."
The US has not hosted the Summer Olympics since Atlanta 1996, or the Winter Olympics since Salt Lake City 2002.
There are four other cities seeking to host the 2024 Olympics: Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome. A final decision is set to be made in 2017, in Lima.
The news of Boston's withdrawal is the latest setback for the Olympic bidding process, and comes after four cities dropped out of the running for the 2022 Winter Games.
Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Summer Games, will go head-to-head with the little-known Kazakh city of Almaty for the right to host the 2022 Olympics, when the IOC elects the winner at its 128th session in Malaysia later this week.
"The key issue is to deliver a great Games for athletes, and that means having (a bid) which (not only) offers great conditions in the sport facilities, but also to have a project which addresses the issues of Olympic Agenda 2020," IOC president Thomas Bach said. "That means to have sustainable and feasible Olympic Games," he said of the 2022 bidders.
The past week has also been a testing period for the next two Games organisers, which will report on their progress to the IOC this week.
The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics finally appear to have been dragged back on track following long delays and questions over venues, with sponsors finally getting on board.
Meanwhile, organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics have been forced to go back to the drawing board after plans for the new Olympic stadium were scrapped over costs earlier this month.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's surprise decision to take plans for the new national stadium "back to zero" in the face of outrage over ballooning costs was the latest broken promise related to the Games, which Tokyo won in 2013 based largely on its organisational prowess and reputation for efficiency.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS