Los Angeles, one of the front-runner cities bidding to host the 2024 Olympic Games, saw its chances of landing the international competition increase Sunday as the German city of Hamburg dropped out after citizens voted it down. Bid officials in Germany said they would immediately halt operations following referendum results that put 51.6 percent of the city against hosting the games.
Many people against the games in Hamburg voted it down out of concern that the money earmarked for the event could be better spent, which is a common sentiment, considering the costs associated with the Olympics often balloon and in the process leave cities hamstrung. Hamburg's exit gives L.A. a considerably better shot a bringing the games back to the city, which hosted the 1934 and 1984 Olympics.
The Los Angeles Times described Hamburg as one of L.A.'s "main rivals in the competition to host the 2024 Summer Olympics." The other remaining cities are Budapest, Paris and Rome.
"With these strong competitors we all can look forward to an exciting Olympic Games 2024, whoever the winner will be," an International Olympic Committee spokesman said in a statement, via the L.A. Times.
— LA 2024 (@LA2024) September 14, 2015
L.A., which took over as the U.S. representative city after Boston bowed out amid money concerns, presented a plan with minimal costs because it has much of the needed infrastructure already in place. The city cleared about $6 billion for the project in September and has said 85 percent of the venues for the potential games have already been selected, meaning there would be less to build.
But the Los Angeles bid, organized by a group called LA2024, has hit some snags along the way, as well. A plan to build a 17,000-bed Olympic Village at a railyard downtown hit an obstacle when Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said in a meeting last week that it could cost up to $2 billion to buy the yard and then relocate it, KCAL in L.A. reported. That would triple the expected cost of the project.
"The Piggyback Yards … would support the continued revitalization and neighborhood renewal along the L.A. River, and while that is an attractive possibility, we’re also looking at two dozen other parcels across our city to find the right locations for our athletes, for our city and for our budget," LA2024 said in a statement last week, according to KCAL.
LA's bid leaders met with the International Olympic Committee last week and said potential host cities need to demonstrate vision and public support. The committee also laid out guidelines for the hosts to cut costs and to plan venues -- a major expense -- with future use in mind.
"We want to have the detail of the long-term usage of these venues," said Christophe Dubi, the committee's executive director of the Olympic Games, according to the Associated Press. "The Olympic Games have to serve the long-term development of a city."
With that in mind, L.A. and its competitors must hand in key bid files by Feb. 17. The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to choose a winner by September 2017.