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Olympics

Olympic leaders express disappointment over failed Budapest bid, vow changes

2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Budapest 2024 logo glows in Batthyany Square in Budapest, Hungary, on Jan. 18.
(Zoltan Mathe / European Pressphoto Agency)

Claiming that Budapest’s doomed bid for the 2024 Summer Games was “overtaken by local politics,” the International Olympic Committee has reiterated it will consider changes in the way host cities are selected.

An IOC spokesman confirmed on Friday that Budapest — which was competing against Los Angeles and Paris — will officially withdraw in the next couple of days.

“It is disappointing that this decision had to be taken,” spokesman Mark Adams said in a statement, adding: “We sympathize with those who put so much work into the candidature and their many supporters.”

The Hungarian capital’s campaign met with public resistance in recent weeks as a political movement collected more than 266,000 signatures to force a referendum on the issue.

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Adams echoed widespread concerns that Momentum Mozgalom used the Olympic issue to promote its “broader domestic political agenda.”

After consulting with national and local political officials, bid leaders decided to withdraw in advance of a public vote.

The IOC praised Budapest’s erstwhile proposal, insisting it proved a midsized city can handle a sporting event that costs billions of dollars to stage.

Still, the committee vowed to push ahead with potential reforms first mentioned by its president, Thomas Bach, late last year.

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There has been speculation that when IOC members gather next September, they might take the unprecedented move of picking winners for two Olympics — 2024 and 2028.

Adams offered no details, saying only: “These adjustments will be discussed with all the stakeholders of the Olympic movement.”

Bid leaders in L.A. and Paris have insisted they are focused solely on the 2024 Summer Games.

david.wharton@latimes.com

Follow @LAtimesWharton on Twitter


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