In a rare move, the International Olympic Committee unanimously voted Tuesday to simultaneously award the 2024 and 2028 games, paving the way for the Olympics to return to Paris—and Los Angeles.
What’s not yet clear is which city will get to host first.
IOC officials will now enter into negotiations with bid leaders from LA and Paris to determine which city will host in 2024 and which will have to wait until 2028.
Assuming an agreement is reached, the full committee will gather in Lima, Peru in September to officially award both games.
If neither city is willing to host the 2028 games, the IOC will award only the 2024 games in September, but that event seems very unlikely given that bid leaders from both cities have been open to the idea.
Los Angeles’s bid committee, LA 2024, released a statement saying that it was looking forward to “working with the IOC and Paris in the weeks ahead to turn this golden opportunity into a golden future together.”
Thus far, leaders of LA’s bid have indicated much greater willingness to wait an additional four years, emphasizing that the city’s plans for the games rely largely on preexisting infrastructure and are not time sensitive.
“LA 2024 has never been only about LA or 2024,” bid Chairman Casey Wasserman said in June. “Even when the issue of a dual award for the 2024 and 2028 Games was initially raised, we didn’t say it’s ‘LA first’ or it’s ‘now or never’ for LA ... It has always been our contention that LA 2024 had to make as much sense for the Olympic Movement as it did for the people of LA.”
Paris bid leaders have been less receptive to the idea of hosting in 2028, but have not ruled out the possibility.
After dramatic bidding proceedings that saw multiple candidate cities drop out of the race for the games, only LA and Paris remained as potential host cities for the 2024 games.
Last month, the IOC executive board recommended awarding the 2028 games early, simplifying the bidding process and ensuring both cities would get to execute plans that IOC members see as particularly strong.
Last week, the IOC Evaluation Commission released a glowing report praising LA’s and Paris’s bids for their emphasis on sustainability and fiscal restraint—an especially important feature given mounting criticism that the games place tremendous financial burden on host cities with questionable cultural and economic payoff.
To minimize financial risk, LA’s bid leaders plan to use only temporary facilities and venues that are already in place. Rather than constructing a costly new Olympic village, the city will house participating athletes in UCLA dormitories.
That hasn’t been quite enough to satisfy a growing coalition of vocal opponents to an LA Olympics who argue that the games could help to displace longtime residents.
LA has hosted the games twice before—first in 1932 and again in 1984. Paris last hosted in 1924, and the city’s bid for the 2024 games was launched in part to commemorate the 100th anniversary of that event.