-- LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The International Olympic Committee has empowered itself to award the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games simultaneously in September, pending an agreement between its own leadership and the Paris and Los Angeles bid committees.
Tuesday's unanimous vote put the two cities one step closer to hosting after frustrating bidding droughts for France, which had mounted five previous Summer and Winter Games campaigns in the past 20 years, and the United States, which has seen two Summer Games bids rejected and one official candidacy fizzle since 2005.
Now the weight of negotiations will fall to the political and administrative leadership of Paris 2024 and LA 2024 and specifically to the two mayors who would sign host city contracts -- L.A.'s Eric Garcetti and Paris' Anne Hidalgo. The two already have a good rapport, chiefly from their work on international climate change issues.
They face a fairly compressed timeframe to hammer out a deal before the IOC's meeting on Sept. 13 in Lima, Peru.
However, that process looked to be off to a promising start when Garcetti and Hidalgo walked onto the dais immediately after the vote, holding hands, to thank the room. The mayors then clasped and raised their hands with IOC president Thomas Bach.
Paris 2024 has consistently taken a harder line, saying it would not consider waiting until 2028, while LA 2024 has indicated more flexibility in recent months. The agreement would determine which city would host first, begin to address issues related to financial guarantees for construction and land use, and outline potential collaboration between organizing committees in operational expertise and promotions.
If an agreement is reached, the IOC would vote on whether to ratify it in Lima. If not, the IOC would vote on 2024 only.?
The IOC's procedural decision in Lausanne represents a nod to what Bach called a "new political reality'' that is making it harder for bid cities to sell the massive project to their citizens, and an acknowledgment of two strong, pragmatic bids from recently-spurned countries.
"Today, when people see that ... the entire establishment is united behind one project, then the people immediately have mistrust and conclude that something must be terribly wrong,'' Bach said.
The bidding process that worked to the IOC's advantage in the past "has become too expensive and too onerous,'' Bach added. "We have asking too much too soon from the candidate cities.''