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Toronto 2024 Olympic bid would put city in competitive field

If Toronto wants to throw its hat into the ring to host the 2024 Olympic Summer Games, it faces a Europe-heavy competitive field with the deadline to bid fast approaching.

Bidding cities so far are Paris, Rome, Budapest, Hamburg and Boston

If Toronto wants to throw its hat into the ring to host the 2024 Olympic Summer Games, it faces a Europe-heavy competitive field with the deadline to bid fast approaching.

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) said in 2013 that it would back a Toronto 2024 bid, but despite hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games, which many view as a dress rehearsal for an Olympic bid, no such bid has been announced. 

Rio de Janeiro used the game plan to great success hosting the 2007 Pan Am Games before landing the 2016 Summer Olympics.

"There is no doubt, no doubt that what the country needs most is a Summer Olympic Games," COC chief Marcel Aubut told Reuters. "Toronto is going to deliver a great 2015 Pan Am Games and it should be the first step in going higher for the Olympics like Brazil did."

The IOC will announce the candidate cities that have made it to the shortlist in 2016, before the vote of the host city in summer 2017.

The five contenders to date are Paris, Rome, Budapest, Hamburg and Boston, which have either submitted a bid or announced their intention to do so. The bidding deadline is Sept. 15. 

Controversial Boston bid

The bid from Boston, the only contender from North America, has stirred up the most controversy. 
Boston has been the most contentious choice for 2024 Olympics host city as residents are hesitant to spend public funds on the Games. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

The U.S. Olympic Committee in January passed up bigger cities including Los Angeles and Washington to pick Boston as the nation's bidder for the 2024 Summer Games but its choice immediately came under fire by city residents and elected officials who worried taxpayers would be left to foot much of the proposed $9.5 billion US cost of the event.

The cost of hosting the Games has soared in recent years, with Russia spending $51 billion on the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Members of the International Olympic Committee have played up their new "Agenda 2020" approach as calling for a less expensive model that relies on existing infrastructure to keep costs down.

The IOC had seen Boston's bid, which relies on sport facilities that already exist at the city's many universities, as a model of a lower-cost option.

Rome would be 'Olympics of all Italy'

While Boston's bid prides itself on how compact the events would be geographically — 23 venues within an 8.3-kilometre radius — Rome is touting the opposite.

"The Rome Games will not simply be an Olympics of the capital, but the Olympics of all Italy," said Italian Olympic Committee president Luca di Montezemolo. "Venues will not be restricted to the city limits, but spread across the nation." 

Budapest touts itself as economical choice

In the Hungarian Olympic Committee's bid announcement, Budapest was hyped as an option that will cut organizational costs and be the economical choice. It would be the city's first time hosting the Olympics. 

"We also welcome that the IOC is orienting itself to a more economical and sustainable organization of the Olympic Games, by that breaking the monopoly of the largest and wealthiest countries as hosts," Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos and Zsolt Borkai, head of Hungary's Olympic agency, said in a statement. 

Paris last hosted in 1924

The Paris Games would be an Olympic centennial for the city, which last hosted in 1924. 
Young athletes pose during a gathering as part of the official launch for the Paris bid for the 2024 Olympics. (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)
The bid team from Paris is led by athletes and sports officials rather than politicians, believing it has found a winning formula after a string of stinging defeats.

Paris was considered the favourite in the race for the 2012 Olympics, only to lose out to London in a close vote. Paris also failed in bids for the 1992 and 2008 Games.

Hamburg's green Games

Hamburg is focusing on a green Games.

"We can and want to be a role model for a new Olympic and Paralympic concept of the future," said German Olympic committee president Alfons Hoermann.

Hamburg's concept involves the Games being held in the Kleiner Grasbrook area, technically an island but only a 10-minute walk from the city centre.

The plan is to have every venue accessible on foot or by bicycle in a compact inner-city concept. The concept also includes the opening ceremony held in the city and the water rather than in the Olympic stadium.

Germany last hosted the Summer Games in 1972 while Berlin and Leipzig had failed attempts in past years. Munich also failed in its effort to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

With files from Reuters

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