The president of the International Olympic Committee has made no secret of his desire to name two winners in the current host-city competition between Los Angeles and Paris.
Thomas Bach would like to see his organization take the unusual step of awarding the 2024 Summer Games to one candidate and 2028 to the other.
And with the IOC gathering to decide the issue at a special session early next week, Bach seems confident that he has the votes.
“There are discussions going on, as you would expect for such an important question,” he said in a telephone interview with the Times on Friday. “What I feel is, the members more and more see there is an opportunity for the Olympic Movement and for the candidate cities.”
The dual-award proposal comes at time when potential hosts around the world are turning their backs on the Games, concerned about the billions of dollars required to stage the massive sporting event.
L.A. and Paris are considered strong candidates, so choosing both might buck tradition but would give Olympic leaders the security of locking in summertime locations through the next 11 years.
“I think the ultimate purpose of this endeavor is to create a win-win-win situation,” Bach said.
It remains unclear if the IOC would reciprocate by offering special considerations — including, perhaps, financial incentives — to the city that agrees to go second.
Bach remained vague on the matter Friday, saying: “We would need to discuss with both candidate cities and then come to a tripartite agreement between L.A., Paris and the IOC.”
The discussion could grow more serious after next week.
The IOC will begin its potentially historic session in Lausanne, Switzerland, with an executive board meeting on Sunday and Monday.
On Tuesday morning, L.A. and Paris bid leaders will make presentations to the assembled members, who will reconvene later in the day to vote on the 2024-28 proposal.
The session will conclude on Wednesday when members can visit special rooms where L.A. and Paris will show displays and videos highlighting their Olympic plans.
If all the parties emerge from this with a two-winner arrangement, ensuing negotiations would almost certainly touch upon the controversial host city contract which, among other things, requires the city’s government to act as a financial backstop should the Games run over budget.
Bach said he is open to some revisions, but insisted “the principles of the host city contract, they have to be respected.”
The IOC president also dismissed a common perception about which city is most likely to go first.
While Paris has repeatedly pushed back against the idea of hosting in 2028, LA 2024 leaders have said they would consider waiting around.
“That would be premature,” Bach said of any suggestions that L.A. is slated for 2028. “I’m very confident that once the IOC members have taken the decision … we will have good discussions with both candidate cities.”
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