A few days after Olympic officials praised Los Angeles’ bid for the 2024 Summer Games, they offered similar compliments for the plan put forth by rival Paris.
International Olympic Committee evaluators made their comments after a week of visiting the cities for a closer look.
"We have two candidatures that do not present major risks," Patrick Baumann, chairman of the evaluation commission, said at a news conference on Tuesday.
"Both cities have an Olympic tradition, venues ready to use and dedicated teams,” he continued. “They have a totally different historic and cultural background. The two cities have a different vision, and IOC members will have to decide between the two."
L.A. and Paris stand as the only remaining competitors after Boston; Budapest, Hungary; Hamburg, Germany; and Rome dropped out of running because of cost concerns.
The LA 2024 bid has emphasized Hollywood storytelling, West Cost technology and the economy of using existing venues.
Paris would also make use of existing stadiums and arenas, but would have to build a costly athletes’ village, media center and aquatics center.
Still, the French capital could be the sentimental favorite because it proposes holding events at such iconic locations as the Eiffel Tower, Grand Palais, Arc de Triomphe and Palace of Versailles.
"The Paris bid can put sport in the middle of that history," Baumann said. "And there is also the Olympic history, with the Baron Pierre de Coubertin, this is where modern Olympics were born. There is a very strong link between Paris' history, the Olympics history and their will to host the Games again after those of 1924."
The French might also enjoy a political advantage after new president Emmanuel Macron met with evaluators and promised to be an active presence in the bid.
There is a strong chance that — given two viable choices — the IOC will award the Games to both cities, giving 2024 to one and 2028 to the other.
That decision could be announced during or shortly before a mid-July session in Switzerland, where candidates will make detailed presentations to IOC members.
The host-city vote is scheduled for September.
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