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Trump's travel ban could complicate LA’s Olympic bid

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All seven countries affected by the president's executive order sent athletes to the 2016 games

As leaders of Los Angeles’s bid for the 2024 Olympics prepare for a final presentation to the International Olympic Committee on February 3, a series of executive orders from President Donald Trump are presenting real problems for the viability of the bid.

Most significantly, a travel ban imposed by the president Friday prevents travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States. All seven of those countries sent athletes to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, and presumably will participate in the 2024 games as well.

Though the 90-day ban is temporary, early reports indicate it could be a precursor to more long-term restrictions. Meanwhile, Trump has also taken steps to curb the number of refugees entering the country, blocking any refugees from arriving for the next four months.

If LA’s bid leaders aren’t able to reassure IOC voters that athletes from all participating nations will be allowed to compete in the games—let alone the fledgling refugee team—then making the city’s case will become a lot harder. As the New York Times reports, at least one IOC delegate has already denounced Trump’s recent actions.

When LA was abruptly chosen to replace Boston as the representative of the United States in pursuit of the 2024 games, it entered the race as a major underdog to Paris, which hasn’t hosted the games since 1924. Still, with a bid pitched as responsible and practical in light of recent financial disasters like the 2004 Athens games, leaders hoped for an upset. That possibility seems to be growing more remote.

Trump’s orders on immigration could also impact an American bid for the World Cup, as the Times points out. The 2026 tournament is likely to be staged in North America, with the new NFL stadium under construction in Inglewood rumored to be a possible venue for matches.

Previously, the possibility of the US co-hosting with Mexico and Canada had been floated, but that seems less and less likely as U.S. diplomatic relations with Mexico continue to sour.

The IOC will decide on a host for the 2024 games in September, while FIFA will announce the site of the 2026 World Cup in 2020.