With bidding for the 2024 Summer Games entering the home stretch, International Olympic Committee evaluators have concluded an initial two-day review of the rival proposals from Los Angeles and Paris.
In a statement released Thursday, the IOC's evaluation commission praised the candidates for "creativity and strong legacy focus."
"Both proposals incorporate well-known locations in these two great cities, and would deliver an excellent experience for athletes, spectators and other Games participants," said Patrick Baumann, the commission's chairman.
L.A. and Paris are the only bidders remaining in the 2024 race after Boston; Hamburg, Germany; Rome; and Budapest, Hungary, withdrew over concerns about the cost of staging the Games.
The candidates enter the final five months of their campaign amid some uncertainty, as Olympic officials consider the unusual prospect of naming two winners, one for 2024 and the other for 2028.
Bid leaders haven't exactly warmed to that idea.
There has also been turmoil within the evaluation commission, where former Chairman Frankie Fredericks came under investigation for corruption and has stepped down.
The commission is scheduled to visit both cities in May as it prepares a report for the full IOC voting membership.
L.A. and Paris will also make important presentations to officials at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, in mid-July.
The IOC is scheduled to select a host in September.
"We are looking forward to taking a closer look at these two strong candidates during our site visits, to see in more detail how these well-developed plans would come to life at Games time and leave sustainable legacies," Baumann said.