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Paris and L.A. in two-horse race for Olympics, but will there be two winners?

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by The Associated Press

AARHUS, DENMARK — Los Angeles and Paris made a direct appeal April 4 to Olympic sports leaders in their bids to host the 2024 Games amid the ongoing politics of possibly awarding hosting rights for 2028 at the same time.
Paris and L.A. in two-horse race for Olympics, but will there be two winners?

In the first of three campaign events this year, the two 2024 Olympic candidates focused on small details in their plans that are key to athletes and organizers — a break from the big picture talk of also choosing a 2028 host when International Olympic Committee (IOC) members meet on Sept. 13.

"We understand that without the federations there are no competitions," LA 2024 bid chairman Casey Wasserman told the Associated Press (AP) on April 4 ahead of his team's meeting with sports officials. "Our job is to give them the greatest platform to host the ultimate competition in what we think is one of the greatest cities in the world."

L.A. was on stage first and made a 10-minute presentation followed by five minutes of questions from the audience.

Paris followed in what is now a two-horse race that could yet have two winners, according to speculation fuelled by IOC president Thomas Bach. That would make both cities a three-time Olympic host.

Paris bid co-chairman Tony Estanguet said an Olympics in the French capital would showcase "the best iconic places" in the city. The Paris presentation stressed its more compact plan treating much of the city as a big Olympic Park. Its project also includes building projects, including an athletes village.

L.A., which will stage most sports in four separate venue clusters, promised to use only venues that already exist. That means no new construction projects that have given recent Olympics a reputation for huge overspending.

"I would argue that Los Angeles is the poster child for Agenda 2020," said Wasserman, referring to Bach's signature plan to cut hosting costs that have scared off voters in would-be candidate cities.

Earlier on April 4, Bach told the AP he would not attend the two presentations. Still, he praised both in the context of his program that he hopes will safeguard the Olympics' future under his leadership.

"We have two excellent bids which are embracing Olympic Agenda 2020 by making use of many existing facilities, by having a sustainable project, by having very low infrastructure investments compared to previous bids," Bach said.

Asked if the contest could yet have two winners, the IOC head chuckled before adding: "We'll see."

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