Rome's Mayor Rejects "Irresponsible" 2024 Olympics Bid

Fucking hell, a politician has said something reasonable and correct. It wasn't in Britain, unfortunately.

by Aaron Gordon
22 September 2016, 9:18am

Photo by Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Rome's mayor Virginia Raggi has rejected the city's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, all but dooming the city's contention for the games. In a press conference and accompanying blog post, Raggi said it would be "irresponsible" for the city to bid on the games, citing the long history of mega-events raiding public coffers.

The mayor's announcement hardly comes as a surprise. Her anti-Olympics position has always been part of her platform focused on returning basic civil services to the Italian capital (which she has been widely criticised for failing to fulfil thus far). When Raggi was elected in June, Inside The Games called her election a "blow for Rome" in hosting the games, and that the bid committee would focus on trying to make her "more sympathetic."

Rome's exit leaves three cities remaining for the 2024 Games: Budapest, Paris, and Los Angeles, with the latter two widely considered the stronger contenders. The IOC will choose the host in September 2017.

Rome joins the list of a growing number of cities opting out of the Olympic dream, underscoring the IOC's fundamental failure to institute meaningful reforms on a variety of issues. Since the IOC released Agenda 2020 in December 2014 as part of a process of making the Games more sustainable and human rights-conscious, the bidding process has hardly reflected those ideals. Cities are still on the hook to guarantee the same basic and expensive infrastructure the IOC has always demanded.

Six months after Agenda 2020 was released, the IOC awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing, a city with no history of winter sports but a long one of human rights violations, including when it hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008. The IOC didn't have much of a choice; five European cities dropped their bids for 2022 due to political backlash, leaving only Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan (which has a long list of human rights violations itself).

The 2024 bid hasn't fared all that much better. Hamburg and Boston backed out of their bids for similar reasons as Rome, a further sign that the IOC's reforms are in name-only. The proof is in all the cities that don't want the "privilege" of losing billions of pounds for no good reason. But rather than institute actual reforms and, God forbid, risk some of their billions in profit for the good of sport, the IOC presses on. Good luck to you, Los Angeles and Paris.