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Budapest’s Olympic Ship Has Sailed

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President of the Hungarian Olympic Committee Zsolt Borkai, left, Chairman of the Budapest 2024 bid Balazs Furjes, second left, and Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos, right, pose in front of the logo of host city candidate Budapest for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Photo: AP

If there is one thing the International Olympic Committee despises, it is having a bid city’s residents voting on whether that city should host the Games. Another is when a city drops out under the threat of a vote. Budapest is now the latest city that has dropped out. A petition with far more names than needed to force a vote on the Olympic bid was handed in and now Hungarian officials decided that was enough to finish off the bid. The petition sent Hungarian politicians into frenzy and irritated the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach who sees the group behind the petition, Momentum, as a thorn in the IOC’s side. The Budapest bid committee’s decision to bail continued the pattern whereby local residents don’t want to pay for a two-week sports event that comes and goes but leaves a disastrous trail of financial bills which locals have to pay for years and decades.

The original bidders for the 2024 Games were Boston, Budapest, Hamburg, Germany, Paris, France and Rome, Italy. But opposition to the Boston and Rome bids grew and eventually officials pulled the plug on those attempts. Voters in Hamburg, Germany said no to spending money for the Olympics Los Angeles stepped in after Boston ended the bid. Los Angeles and Paris are still in the race. Those two cities may get the 2024 and 2028 Games.

The International Olympic Committee has been failing to get cities who to want to host the Games. Oslo, Norway, Stockholm, Sweden and Krakow, Poland withdrew along with a bid from Ukraine for the 2022 Olympics. Beijing, China got those Games. Quebec City, Lake Placid and St. Moritz have said no to the 2026 Winter Olympics. No is a word the IOC keeps hearing. The IOC is running out of cities that want the Olympics.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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