Los Angeles, Paris, Kigali and celebrating Olympism

Before Rod Stewart got all weird, writing stuff like Da Ya Think I’m Sexy, or doing lovestruck Van Morrison covers, like Have I Told You Lately, he did some pretty cool songs, like 1971’s Every Picture Tells a Story.

Don’t it?

The International Olympic Committee’s would-be reform plan, Agenda 2020, is purportedly all about less-is-more.

Now take a look at these pictures, posted on Twitter, recording the way the two surviving candidates for the 2024 Summer Games, Paris and Los Angeles, observed “Olympic Day” on Friday.

Ask — which of the two seems more in line with the IOC’s oft-declared strategic mandate to rein in costs associated with bidding and operation of the Games?

The Paris bid team put a floating track in the Seine; a diving tower on a famous bridge; and more.

“We will tell our friends that one day we created a show to support the Olympic Games” — this is the way one leading local newspaper had it.

Total cost for this two-day show, according to an official speaking Friday morning on Paris radio, about $2.8 million at current exchange rates. Half the money was said to come from the bid’s 16 sponsors; a ready glance shows those 16 include a handful of public concerns.

Let’s call this for what it was:

This was a sales job using significant amounts of government money. Which means taxpayer money. Which means that at least seven figures — more than a million dollars — went toward this sales pitch aimed at the IOC.

And we Americans are the ones accused of throwing Hollywood-style extravaganzas? Come on.

Here was LA, amid the June gloom that is common in the summer before the sun burns off the fog at the beach:

The U.S. track and field national championships are ongoing through the weekend in Sacramento, California, about 400 miles north of LA. Here was the USA Track & Field contribution:

Then there’s this, a Facebook video from Cameron Myler, a four-time U.S. Olympian in luge, the winter sliding sport; she was among a number of U.S. Olympians and others taking part in a celebration of Olympic Day in Kigali, Rwanda.

A close French observer of the Olympic scene, Armand de Rendinger, noted the differences between the Paris and LA approaches this way:

A rough translation, enough here to capture the essence, as de Rendinger cites to l’Equipe’s publication of a story published with the wire service AFP: “… the sparkle of Paris vs. California modesty. Each city [with] its priorities. The IOC will appreciate …”

The picture that accompanies that l’Equipe story, by the way, says this:

In French: “Los Angeles a fêté l’olympisme de manière plus mesurée que Paris.” Which means: “Los Angeles celebrated Olympism more than Paris.”

On a summer weekend, ponder these questions:

Which of the three — LA, Kigali, Paris — seems, you know, more in keeping with the key Olympic values: friendship, excellence, respect?

Which of the three — LA, Kigali, Paris — seems, you know, more in line with Agenda 2020?

Also this: when the IOC says Agenda 2020 matters — does it? What, really, does the IOC appreciate?

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