Olympics: Macron, LA mayor court IOC ahead of key vote

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach attends a press conference on June 9, 2017 at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach attends a press conference on June 9, 2017 at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.PHOTO: AFP

LAUSANNE (AFP) - Political heavyweights from Paris and Los Angeles courted the International Olympic Committee on Monday ahead of a key vote likely to determine the hosts of the 2024 and 2028 Games.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti were both in Lausanne, Switzerland, for talks with Olympic brass including IOC chief Thomas Bach.

The two cities had been battling fiercely for the right to host 2024, but a compromise solution pushed by Bach could see both bids emerge as winners.

Bach and the IOC executive committee want to award 2024 and 2028 together at the Olympic movement's main annual meeting in Peru in September.

That plan, likely to be rubber-stamped by IOC members on Tuesday, will effectively guarantee that both the French capital and California metropolis get the Games.

Paris has emerged as the clear front-runner for 2024, with Los Angeles hinting it may be prepared to wait four more years.

OLYMPIC VALUES

Neither Macron nor Garcetti directly addressed the contest for 2024, instead affirming the need for a strong Olympic movement amid a chaotic political climate.

"In a fractured world where tensions are resurgent, we need the values of peace and tolerance that the Olympic movement illustrates and embodies strongly," the French president said, flanked by Bach.

Macron braved a light rain as he climbed the steps to the lakeside Olympic Museum, where he took a tour alongside his wife Brigitte and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, among other dignitaries from the Paris bid.

Macron said he was representing a Paris team bolstered by "the complete unity of the country".

Garcetti had a separate tour of the museum with Bach and Los Angeles bid leaders, including former sprint champion Michael Johnson.

The mayor said his goal was to "bring America back to the Olympics and the Olympics back to America".

"In this crazy moment in the world, when so much is unsure let's bring what we know to be true and good and that is the Olympic movement", he added.

DOUBLE HOSTING

The IOC has had trouble attracting prospective hosts, given the massive costs of staging the Games.

Bach has described Paris and Los Angeles as "two great Olympic cities" and does not want to reject either.

Locking in the pair for 2024 and 2028 would offer the IOC a degree of stability as it pushes new efforts to reign in costs.

Assuming IOC members approve the double hosting plan at Tuesday's meet, Bach has said that formal negotiations will begin with both cities over who goes first.

A source close to the Los Angeles bid speaking anonymously said 2028 may offer "a better deal" as the IOC may be in a position to offer more cash from marketing rights.

A double awarding would not be a first, the IOC having, in 1921, awarded the 1924 and 1928 Summer Games to Paris and Amsterdam, as well as later promising Los Angeles the 1932 Games.

Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, had pushed for the joint awarding as the world, and Europe in particular, struggled to rebound after the devastating First World War.