Chariots of Desire: Paris Enters Bid to Host 2024 Olympic Games

paris2024olympicsParis has officially tossed its hat into the ring to host the 2024 Olympic Games. If selected, it will serve as host for first time in exactly a century since it hosted the summer games last.

The Guardian reports that the city is competing against the likes of Boston, Hamburg, and Rome, the latter having lost its bid to Paris in 1924, the last time Paris hosted the event. The 1924 Olympic games are perhaps most famous for the race between British runners Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell, which was popularized by the Academy Award-winning movie Chariots of Fire.

Paris came close to hosting the Olympics in 2012 but ultimately lost to London. Budapest is also expected to announce its bid.

The official bid starts a long process of vetting and deliberating on the proposed cities by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC will decide which cities make the shortlist by next year and will announce the winner in the summer of 2017.

“Paris 2024 promises a feasible and flexible Games concept,” said Denis Masseglia, the head of the French National Olympic Committee.

The bid has the full backing of Paris City Hall and the French President François Hollande. However, it took some time for Paris’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, to warm up to the idea. Initially hesitant to back the bid due to the potential costs, Hidalgo eventually endorsed it in March after a study revealed that the city’s current infrastructure can accommodate many of the needed venues, limiting construction costs. The total costs of hosting the Olympics is estimated to be €6.2 billion.

Paris also has 384 metro stations, including 328 in the city center, making transportation for the games even more feasible.

“We aim to highlight the unity and the solidarity of a cosmopolitan city, which I am sure will be one of the key strengths to win,” Hidalgo said.

The president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, assured Hollande in April that his capital city is a “very, very strong candidate” for the 2024 games.

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