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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA 2024 bid officials will host the IOC evaluation commission starting Wednesday.
A team of International Olympic Committee experts will spend three days each in Los Angeles and Paris over the next week evaluating the two bids for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
The evaluation commission will begin its review of Los Angeles' bid Wednesday and Paris' bid Sunday. In those three-day visits, the bid leaders will seek to demonstrate why their city is best to host the Games even as the IOC considers an option of awarding each city an Olympics in a dual award for 2024 and 2028.
Up first, Los Angeles will seek to demonstrate how it can deliver on its low-risk, no-surprises promise.
"What will be really interesting here is if Los Angeles doesn't spend all its time saying how lavish we can do things but here's how we can do things affordably and on budget," said Victor Matheson, an economist at Holy Cross who has studied the Olympics. "Which would be, of course, a totally different idea from what we've totally seen but would certainly be in line with what the IOC says it's looking for."
Los Angeles has proposed a $5.3 billion bid that relies almost entirely on existing venues. It's tailored to Agenda 2020, which the IOC created to reduce the cost of bidding and create a more sustainable model for the Olympics.
The 2024 race is the first under the agenda and a test of the IOC's commitment to change after recent Games in Rio de Janeiro, Sochi and Beijing, among others, have run billions over budget while failing to deliver on their promised legacies.
With only two remaining cities for a second consecutive bidding cycle, the IOC has tasked its vice presidents to study changes to bidding. They are considering awarding the 2024 and 2028 Olympics when the IOC meets to vote in September, with Los Angeles and Paris each getting one of the two.
While seeing Los Angeles' venues is the most visible measure of the bid, the IOC evaluation commission will examine other areas such as finance, transportation and marketing, said John Mac-Aloon, a professor at the University of Chicago.
MacAloon was an adviser on New York's bid for the 2012 Olympics and part of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Games.
"It's an intense face-to-face, formal committee hearing, if you will, on the propositions that are offered, as well as an opportunity for the experts to get a direct sense of the lay of the land," he said.
The commission also will consider things such as the impressions they get from bid leaders as well as city and public support.
One advantage Los Angeles has over the previous two U.S. bids is improved relations with the IOC, MacAloon said. "It's a challenge for us Americans to hit the right tone," he said.
The commission's work culminates in a report delivered to the IOC on July 5 in advance of a technical briefing a week later. That report would include any challenges but will highlight opportunities and is expected to be favorable to both cities.
"It becomes a bit of an interpretation games of reading between the lines as to what is or is not being hinted at by the evaluation commission about the relative strengths or weaknesses of the various bids," MacAloon said.
"They're very subtle in how they formally present their results, but of course the bid committees have other sources of information.
"And it's important to know that the IOC members, who are the only real targets, for their final secret ballot may or may not pay that much attention to the evaluation committee findings. That varies a great deal among the IOC members."