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Olympics

L.A. likely has one fewer rival for 2024 Olympics as Rome mayor’s rejection may doom city’s bid

Virginia Raggi
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi speaks during a news conference Sept. 21 in Rome.
(Alessandro Di Meo / European Pressphoto Agency)

Rome’s new mayor has officially opposed her city’s campaign to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, all but dooming the bid and leaving Los Angeles with one fewer competitor in a shrinking field.

Virginia Raggi said Wednesday that it would be “irresponsible” to stage the massive and expensive sporting event in the Italian capital, according to the Associated Press.

“In light of the data we have, these Olympics are not sustainable,” she was quoted as saying at a news conference. “They will bring only debt.”

The mayor was expected to bring a formal motion to withdraw before the city assembly later Wednesday.

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The official Twitter feed of Rome’s 2024 candidacy, @Roma2024, tweeted Wednesday: “The City Council will be responsable for what they have announced today, we are going on until the formal decision.”

Because the candidate city’s government must promise to take responsibility for any cost overruns, the backing of local politicians is crucial to any bid.

Hamburg, Germany, and Boston previously withdrew their bids for 2024. If Rome withdraws, that would leave only Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest, Hungary, as candidates. 

As a face of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, Raggi had campaigned on bringing “legality and transparency” to city hall, making opposition to the bid part of her platform. Still, there had been some thought she might shift her position once in office.

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Rome previously withdrew from the running for the 2020 Games. This time around, the city had been considered something of a dark horse — along with Budapest — from the very start.

Paris has long been seen as Los Angeles’ strongest competition for 2024.

The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to select a host in September 2017. The bid process is now approaching its next round with further paperwork to be submitted in October.

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UPDATES:

9:25 a.m.: This story has been updated with a tweet from @Roma2024.

8:45 a.m.: This story has been updated with Times staff reporting. 

This post was originally published at 8:10 a.m. 


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