By Barry Janoff
February 25, 2017: The International Olympic Committee is in trouble.
Just how much trouble remains to be seen.
Just days after stating that their bid to host the 2024 Summer Games was still in place, officials in Budapest said they would be withdrawing that bid, pointing to financial, logistical, political and other reasons.
That leaves two prime candidates left to host the Olympics in seven years: Los Angeles and Paris.
Unfortunately for the IOC, the list of cities that have dropped out of the bidding process for the 2024 Summer Games is longer: In addition to Budapest, Rome bowed out late last year, Hamburg and Boston in 2015.
The IOC is scheduled to make its decision this September.
IOC had only two candidate cities for 2022 Winter Games —Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Beijing, which won the bid — following decisions by Oslo, Stockholm, Krakow and Ukraine's Lviv to withdraw their bids.
The bidding for the 2026 Winter Games is in the "exploration stage," with several cities expressing initial interest, including Calgary, Almaty, Trento (Italy) and Stockholm.
It was almost anticlimactic that Budapest dropped out, just four months after Rome left the process. Like Rome, Budapest was getting less than stellar support from within the city and across the nation.
Tokyo, which in 2013 was named as the host city for the 2020 Summer Games, has faced extensive financial challenges and has had to revise its budget downward by billions from its original estimates. The most recent estimate to run the Games was put at $16.8 billion by local officials, but the IOC and others were still seeking cost savings of as much as $4 billion or more.
This past week, more than 250,000 people in the nation signed a petition calling for a referendum on Budapest’s bid, which hastened the decision of local politicians to end the quest that officially began in 2013 but dates back to initial interest in 2008.
Support on social media for Budapest was lacking, as well.
@GoBudapest2024, the official Twitter destination, has just over 1,130 followers and its official Facebook destination has some 68,200 followers.
By comparison, @Paris2024 has more than 79,000 Twitter followers and its Facebook page 174,800 followers.
@LA2024 has more than 94,400 followers on Twitter and its Facebook site has more than 490,700 followers.
According to a statement from the Budapest 2024 Athletes’ Committee, "It is impossible to explain how sad and disappointed we are. Our country has suffered a great loss with the end of Hungary’s Olympic and Paralympic dream. In the home straight of this unique, global competition, we have been forced to give up the fight.
"We have been struck a huge blow. Not just us, all of Budapest and the entire country, too. If Budapest had hosted the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we would have seen healthier, more athletic and happier people on the streets and on the sports fields in just a few years’ time.
"We have observed at close quarters the huge amount of work that went into the bid and have intimate knowledge of the fantastic Hungarian plans and visions that so impressed to IOC. We therefore remain hopeful that it will not be too long before the Hungarian capital launches another bid in the steadfast belief that Budapest will one day be a worthy venue for the Olympic and Paralympic Games," said the Budapest 2024 Athletes’ Committee.
Although it strengthens thier position, the Budapest news was not received with open arms by LA 2024.
"All of us at LA 2024 are disappointed in this news," Casey Wasserman, chairman for LA 2024, said in a statement. "We have the highest respect for Budapest 2024's pioneering approach to designing and promoting their bid, and we look forward to continued friendship with our Hungarian colleagues."
Both Los Angeles and Paris have been mounting strong, multi-platform pushes. The IOC has indicated it might award the next two Summer Games this September, giving one to Paris and one to Los Angeles to avoid what has become an expensive, multi-year process to seek and then acquire an Olympics Game bid from the IOC.
Earlier this month, mayors from some 50 cities worldwide signed a petition supporting the bid by Paris 2024, including six cities that previously hosted the Games: Athens, Barcelona, Mexico City, Montreal, Munich and Sydney.
Los Angeles also has to deal with the fact that the man in the White House who is the current face of America has been pushing agendas of anti-immigration, division and exclusion and has created chasms between the U.S. and other nations, including Mexico, China and most recently Sweden and France.
"It is not the purpose of an Olympic candidate city procedure to produce losers. It is to produce the best possible host for an Olympic Games."
Concurrently, the White House has been working to build a relationship with Russia, which is immersed in an on-going drug scandal with the IOC and world overseeing drug-testing organizations.
The IOC said it could deal with the situation by awarding the 2024 Games to Paris and the 2028 Games to Los Angeles, or vice versa.
"We have to take into consideration that the procedure as it is now produces too many losers," IOC President Thomas Bach said during a media conference in Switzerland this past December. "You can be happy about a strong field in quantity for one day but you start to regret it the next day.
"It is not the purpose of an Olympic candidate city procedure to produce losers. It is to produce the best possible host for an Olympic Games. We will have to look into this," said Bach.
IOC President: Games Bid Process Has 'Too Many Losers'
Rome Says 'Arrivederci' To 2024 Games Bid
LA 2024 Says 'Follow The Sun' To Summer Olympics
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