Win-win: Paris awarded ‘24 Olympics, LA gets ‘28

LIMA, Peru — The tears welling in the Paris mayor’s eyes told the story one way. The words the Los Angeles mayor spoke told it another.

This was one of those rare Olympic moments when everyone walked away a winner.

Paris for 2024. Los Angeles for 2028. And the International Olympic Committee for transforming its unruly, tension-filled and sometimes corrupt bidding process into a history-making, two-city victory that secures the future of the Games for the next 11 years.

“This is a pretty radical revolution today,” LA mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Usually, we have two or three cities crying in a corner, and one glorious victory. In this world, there are enough losers today, enough people who go after dreams to have them crushed. Today, we model something that can be different.”

Different, as in the first time the IOC has granted two Summer Olympics at once.

And different, in that there was no need for a secret ballot or any last-minute, back-room deal making.

This result came after a year’s worth of scrambling by IOC president Thomas Bach, who had only the two bidders left for the original prize, 2024, and couldn’t afford to see either lose.

There was no drama — the decision had been locked in for more than a month. But to say there was no emotion would not be true.

After Bach called for a show of hands to approve the dual award, dozens of arms shot skyward from the audience; moments later, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo stood next to the IOC president dabbing tears from her eyes.

“It was a very strong, very emotive moment,” Hidalgo said. “We are all united. Altogether, it’s very special for us, because in France, and in other countries, that’s not usual.”

Moments after the vote, Bach handed cards with the winners’ names on them to Hidalgo and Garcetti. One read “Paris 2024,” and the other “LA 2028.” It was a mere formality, yet both mayors held them aloft with wide smiles on their faces.

Both cities will host their third Olympics.

The Paris Games will come on the 100th anniversary of its last turn. That milestone, plus the fact that Paris has been on the losing end of these bids for 1992, 2008 and 2012, would have made the French capital the sentimental favourite had only 2024 been up for grabs.

Los Angeles moved to 2028, and those Olympics will halt a stretch of 32 years without a Summer Games in the United States. In exchange for the compromise, LA will grab an extra $300 million or more that could help offset the uncertainties that lie ahead over an 11-year wait instead of seven.

“We’re ready now,” Garcetti insisted, speaking of a city that has virtually every sports venue already in place.

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