Los Angeles, Paris await Olympic inspectors in 2024 race

Los Angeles, Paris await Olympic inspectors in 2024 race

GENEVA — Los Angeles and Paris, both already seen as winning options for the 2024 Games, await their Olympic inspectors this week.

The cities will host three-day visits by an International Olympic Committee panel, whose chairman has no doubt about their hosting credentials.

“I think today at least you can already say, either way, we will have fantastic Olympic Games,” IOC evaluation commission chairman Patrick Baumann told The Associated Press.

IOC President Thomas Bach seems so sure of the candidates’ qualities that he asked his four vice-presidents for advice on also bringing the 2028 Olympics into play, rewarding both cities with hosting duties. That guidance is due in July, so Baumann’s 13-member group will press on with scheduled work in Los Angeles starting Wednesday, then in Paris from Sunday. Each visit ends with Baumann taking questions at a news conference.

“There is no change in the scope and the role and the mandate,” Baumann said of the possible dual award affecting his eventual report to IOC members.

In the typically secretive world of Olympics elections, it is unclear how many voting members are swayed by the type of report they will get from Baumann’s team on July 5.

IOC inspections typically do not rank candidate cities, and a more flexible evaluation process introduced for the 2024 contest will look to stress the positives. The IOC says it will also publish the report on its website.

“It is not about finding the black spot,” Baumann, an IOC member from Switzerland, said in a recent interview. “It is, of course, to highlight challenges if there are, but also and mainly to highlight the opportunities.”

Baumann acknowledged that the “differences are going to be extremely small” between two obviously world-class cities.

Still, the Olympic hosting model has been burned by recent high-spending and budget-busting hosts. Baumann cautioned that “realistic financing” is a key factor to avoid an unwanted legacy of tax hikes and white elephant venues.

A privately funded Los Angeles project also differs from a more European model in Paris that looks to some taxpayer money toward projected spending of 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) on new venues and buildings.

France’s President-elect, Emmanuel Macron, will be inaugurated Sunday in Paris when the IOC team starts work. Olympic bidders need federal support for security operations.

Macron will take over from Francois Hollande, whose strong backing for the Paris bid included travelling to meet Bach in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Macron’s election has spared Paris officials from questions about how a far-right presidency of Marine Le Pen might play with the IOC. Its global pool of members includes one from Syria, which is targeted for a travel ban from Muslim-majority countries by President Donald Trump.

Still, bid cities rely more on city mayors than state presidents, and Paris has put civic leader Anne Hidalgo at the heart of its campaign.

In political terms, Baumann noted that the two bids come from countries that are “organized differently in sports terms.” He pointed to his experience staging events in the United States and France as secretary general of basketball’s governing body, FIBA.

“That doesn’t diminish in any way one bid versus the other, it’s just different,” the Swiss official said. “That difference is something that also the IOC membership needs to understand.”

About 88 of the current 95 IOC members are entitled to choose the 2024 host in a vote scheduled for Sept. 13 in Lima, Peru. American and French members will be barred from voting, and others have recused themselves while under investigation.

Plans could change during politicking from July 9-12 in Lausanne.

First, a two-day meeting of the IOC executive board will hear the vice-presidents’ advice. Bid leaders from LA and Paris will then make separate presentations to IOC members.

By the evening of July 12 it could be clear if both Los Angeles and Paris will win in a doubled-up 2024-2028 contest — though in which order may be unresolved. Neither city has offered to take the later option.

For Baumann, the two cities’ aims should stay the same for the next week, and next decade.

“How are you going deliver a great experience for the athletes?” Baumann said. “How are you going deliver a great experience for the fans? And how are you going to deliver on the legacy of the promises and the ideas that the bid committee has put on paper?”

Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Kelowna’s South Perimeter Road project to go ahead

Project to extend Gordon Drive doesn’t get enough signatures to keep it from moving ahead

Fleeing driver leaves behind severely damaged car

West Kelowna crash occurred at Highway 97 South junction

Dozens of impaired Kelowna drivers ticketed on St. Patrick’s Day

Kelowna RCMP stopped many vehicles for impaired driving during a one day blitz

Suspect in custody following slew of hit-and-runs

Truck stolen from Armstrong allegedly used in multiple incidents between Lake Country and Kelowna

City recommendation stinks says Kelowna developer

Troika Developments upset about city’s about-face on support of its Diamond Mountain project

Kelowna boy donates hair to charity

An eight-year-old kicks off spring break with a buzz cut for charity

Search and rescue help injured sledders off Owlhead

Volunteer searchers also locate two hikers near Little Shuswap Lake

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle

Ride-hailing company suspends all road-testing of such vehicles in U.S. and Canada

Canadian Hall of Fame trio rocks the Okanagan

The Stampeders transport Vernon and Kelowna audiences to a time of tie-dye rock n’ roll

Spring melt uncovers dirty needles in Vernon

Vernon residents upset with number of needles being found around town with spring melt

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Dube named WHL player of the week

Kelowna Rockets forward enjoys strong finish to 2017-18 regular season

Most Read