The applause was still echoing through Auditorium A in Lausanne’s SwissTech Convention Centre Tuesday afternoon in the wake of the International Olympic Committee’s historic decision to award both the 2024 and 2028 Games this year as Los Angeles and Paris mayors Eric Garcetti and Anne Hidalgo unexpectedly approached the room’s stage down a side aisle arms raised, their hands clasped together.
“We just wanted to say thank you,” Garcetti said to IOC president Thomas Bach sitting center stage.
The gesture seemed to overwhelm Bach.
It was only the second time in his four years as IOC president, Bach said late,r “that I reacted to a gesture with ‘whoa’ and ‘give me a second.’”
The IOC’s unanimous vote to guarantee Los Angeles and Paris hosting a third Olympic Games was characterized by Bach and Garcetti as a “golden opportunity” for both cities and an Olympic movement whose future has been jeopardized by a series of corruption, financial and doping scandals that have scared off potential bid cities, younger viewers and sponsors.
“A win, win, win situation,” Bach said of the IOC’s decision to award two Games in the same year for the first time since 1921.
Yet for all of Tuesday’s celebratory tone on both sides of the Atlantic, Olympic historians, analysts and former bid consultants caution that it could be years if not decades before it’s clear whether the move will truly be a victory for the Olympic movement and the two host cities.
“I just view it as a short-term measure that only partly deals with a long-term problem, which is to say a lack of bidders, a lack of serious bidders with public support for the Olympics, and this is a way of staving off dealing with the sort of structural issues inherent to the Olympics by getting two cities with strong Olympic track records,” said Jules Boykoff, author of “Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics.”
IOC, Los Angeles and Paris officials will begin talks immediately on a tripartite agreement between the IOC and the two cities that is expected to result in Paris hosting the 2024 Games and Los Angeles agreeing to hold the 2028 Olympics, according to international sports officials and consultants who have worked with the IOC and are familiar with the organization’s inner workings.
“We take nothing for granted. Our job now is to work with the IOC to forge the best path forward for our city, for the future of this movement,” Garcetti said.