By Barry Janoff
October 11, 2016: Facing tough competition from rival bid cities and strong opposition from within its own city, the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) has officially dropped Rome’s quest to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.
The move, months in the making, marks the second time that Rome has withdrawn from Olympic bidding and also joins Hamburg as the second city that has withdrawn its name for consideration after taking initial, and costly steps, to enter the process.
In addition, Boston, after being selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee to represent the U.S. in a quest to host the 2024 Games, decided to withdraw, driven, much like Rome’s decision, by finances and politics.
Los Angeles subsequently replaced Boston and remains an ardent contender, along with co-front runner Paris as well as Budapest.
The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to name a host city for the 2024 Games in September 2017.
“Today I wrote a letter to the International Olympic Committee in which we have broken off our candidature for the Olympic Games in 2024,” Giovanni Malago, president for the Italian Olympic Committee, said during a media conference in Rome on Tuesday morning. “It’s a big wound for us. I hope they realize how bad an impression we’ve made.”
Malaga was referring to Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi and her supporters in Rome’s political hierarchy, who expressed their opposition to the Games bid beginning in the Summer of 2015 when she was elected.
The Italian Olympic Committee has spent an estimated $27 million in its bid quest, according to industry analysts.
Official marketing partners include Fiat, DHL, Coca-Cola, Samsung and Groupo BNP Paribas.
Rome also dropped its bid for the 2020 Summer Games due to finances. The Games that year will be held in Tokyo.
A report last month sanctioned by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said that the cost for the 2020 Games could top $30 billion, about four times the estimated cost when the city won the bid in 2013, “unless drastic cost-cutting measures are taken.”
The LA 2024 committee, headed by Casey Wassermann, expressed dismay over Rome’s decision.
“On behalf of all of us at LA 2024, we are disappointed in today’s new as we have enjoyed our interactions with the leaders of the Rome 2024 bid,” Wasserman said in a statement.
“We regard Team Rome as great professionals and true Olympic enthusiasts who have always carried the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence i their bid,” said Wasserman.
Los Angeles has actively supported its position as the U.S. representative. The last time the U.S. hosted the Summer Games was in 1996 in Atlanta. The last Winter Games in the U.S. were 2002 in Salt Lake City.
The last Olympics held in North America were in Vancouver in 2012.
Los Angeles hosted the Summer Games in 1932 and 1984.
Paris hosted the Summer Games in 1900 and 1924.
Rome hosted the Summer Games in 1960.
Earlier this month, the French government committed 1 billion Euros ($1.1 billion U.S.) to support the efforts of Paris 2024.
Despite the moves, supporters of Rome 2024 bid still held out hope that, should the mayor be removed from office or not re-elected, the bid process could be reopened.
However, CONI was far less optimistic.
“We cannot do any more than we have done,” said Malago. “As of today, the Bid Committee is officially liquidated.”
LA 2024, USOC Eye Finances, Security Concerns
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