Anne Hidalgo

DONE: Paris 2024, LA 2028

DONE: Paris 2024, LA 2028

LIMA, Peru — The teams from Paris and Los Angeles had not yet even taken to the floor to make their formal presentations Wednesday to the members of the International Olympic Committee when, with president Thomas Bach outlining the run of show, he explained how Paris would be getting the 33rd Summer Games in 2024 and Los Angeles the 34th in 2028. 

Everyone clapped.

Not yet, Bach said. Not yet.

Even so, ladies and gentlemen, that is pretty much how the 2024 and 2028 Games were awarded. 

LA for 28, Paris for 24: how it came to be

LA for 28, Paris for 24: how it came to be

For weeks now, Olympic insiders have known that Paris would get the 2024 Games and Los Angeles 2028. On Monday, it happened.

Simply put, there was too much win-win-win at stake.

This phraseology is how the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, had come recently to term the 2024/2028 double — as a triple play, really, a win for the IOC, for Paris and for LA.

The full IOC membership must ratify this arrangement at an assembly September 13 in Lima, Peru. That will be a formality.

Of course, in 2017 we don’t know whether by summer 2028 that triple play will have come true. As ever, time will be the measure of all things.

How is Paris bid like The Rocky Horror Picture Show?

How is Paris bid like The Rocky Horror Picture Show?

PARIS — Taking in the sight of the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday hosting the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission along with the Paris 2024 bid team, you could almost hear the soundtrack playing from the 1975 cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show:

Let’s do the time warp again, people.

It’s like the Paris 2024 people think it’s 2005 and they are having a group therapy session over the loss to London for 2012 and re-playing the things their predecessors did wrong and trying, 12 years later, to make it right.

Who's got next, Mme. Hidalgo?

Who's got next, Mme. Hidalgo?

Dear Mme. Hidalgo:

In American pick-up basketball, we have an expression: who’s got next?

On Sunday, Emmanuel Macron took office as French president. Surely in recent days you noticed how M. Macron was out front in expressing support to the International Olympic Committee for the Paris 2024 project. Just guessing here since you and he have had what might be described as a frosty relationship: you must have been thinking to yourself — dude, really?

What we've got here, IOC: godawful failure to communicate

What we've got here, IOC: godawful failure to communicate

A beautiful scene unfolded Thursday inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum amid the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission tour of the would-be 2024 Games venues.

It was everything that is great about the Olympics, past and present, inspiration then and now.

But because the IOC’s communications strategy is so godawful the IOC didn’t tell you about it.

This, in a nutshell, is why the IOC is facing a grave credibility crisis around the world. This, too, is why the IOC must come back to Los Angeles instead of opting for the only other choice in the 2024 race, Paris.

More of the same (Paris), or something new (LA)

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The choice the International Olympic Committee is facing for the 2024 Summer Games, even as it considers a 2024/2028 deal between Los Angeles and Paris, could not be more clear.

More of the same. Or something new.

Or framing it another way: Paris is after a Games. Los Angeles is offering itself in service to the Olympic movement.

Both cities made 10-minute presentations Tuesday to a convention of international sports federation officials in Denmark.

In the LA spot, mayor Eric Garcetti said, “Many believe that the bids ... are quite similar when in fact the two bids that we have presented before us are quite different,” a distinction that even in 10 short minutes times two became crystal clear.

Paris bid co-chair Tony Estanguet, to the audience: “We are promising a Games of real passion and purpose …” Anne Hidalgo, the mayor: “So why Paris now?”  She answered a moment later: “We believe we have the right city with the right vision at exactly the right moment for sport.” Paris bid chief executive Etienne Thobois: “We will deliver the best Games ever for the athletes based on three key pillars,” among them a “brand-new [athletes’] village.”

LA strategy director Angela Ruggiero, the IOC athletes’ commission chair: “Our commitment to you isn’t just for the 16 days of the Games in 2024. It is for the seven years leading up to them, and beyond.” LA bid leader Casey Wasserman: “I think we can all agree that 2024 must be a transformative Games for the movement. This means that the next seven years must inform the next 100 years.”

To springboard off the two radically different presentations Tuesday in Denmark:

At issue is way more than 2024 (or 2028). It is nothing less than the ongoing relevance and vitality of the entire Olympic movement.

This is not hyperbole. It is not drama. It is not Chicken Little sky-is-falling talk.

This is real, and the leadership of the IOC as well as most of the members, who in theory ought to be up to speed on the potentially existential crisis the movement is even now confronting but in some instances might well be a little slow on the uptake, had better sharpen their focus, and quickly.

It’s this elemental:

IOC leaders and members act as stewards of the brand and the movement. An Olympic Games is a multibillion-dollar enterprise. In the bid context, the role demands world-class risk assessment. The old days of cronyism and I’ll-scratch-your-back, you-scratch-mine — that, with the FBI as well as the French and Swiss authorities watching with interest, has to be yesteryear. In a related spirit, there can be no place for sweet but misguided sentimentality. To exercise anything but cold, hard judgment, particularly now, when the brand and movement are considerably imperiled, is to be irresponsible, almost to the extreme.

Imperiled? Unequivocally. Evidence, just the latest:

The Tuesday presentations from both LA and Paris followed Monday’s announcement from the National Hockey League that it was out of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games.

Bottom line: the league is willing to forgo the best two-week commercial the sport of hockey could ask for, and this with Beijing 2022 and China and the possibility of a market of some 2 billion consumers just waiting to be mined four years down the line.

Irrefutable conclusion: the league doesn’t think the Olympics are worth it. In its considered judgment, after being part of the thing since 1998, the Olympics are no longer relevant, or at least relevant enough.

That is a brutal blow to the IOC. No way to sugarcoat it. It is, to use a phrase, a nightmare on ice.

A comparison:

Would Manchester United stop its season for the FIFA World Cup?

Yes, yes, FIFA is in business to make money, the IOC is theoretically in it to help spread the values of friendship, excellence and respect, among others. But still — Man U and the other English Premier League teams are going to make it work out to go to Qatar in 2022 but per the NHL the Columbus Blue Jackets can’t, or won’t, put things on hold to send some guys to PyeongChang in 2018?

Starting from that premise, that the Olympic enterprise is not relevant (enough) for the league that for a generation has supplied the guys in the most important team sport on the Winter Games program, the IOC finds itself looking at just two cities left in the race for 2024.

When three cities have already fallen away: Rome, Budapest and Hamburg.

When the 2022 Winter Games campaign saw just two left standing by the end — Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan — with five other western European cities pulling out along the way because taxpayers or officials would have nothing to do with it: Oslo, Munich, Stockholm, Davos/St. Moritz and Krakow.

This is the moment of clarity.

The old model, the more of the same, is the one in which bid committees don’t tell the truth about the costs of their government-funded Olympic bids.

Examples:

Rio 2016, bid book $14.4 billion, reality check $20 billion or more. Tokyo 2020 bid book $7.8 billion, now estimated at maybe $15 billion, possibly $25-30 billion. Sochi 2014, bid book we won’t even go there, final tally a reported $51 billion.

Paris 2024 is more of this same.

The Paris people say they have 95 percent of their venues built. It’s the 5 percent that aren’t that mark the big-ticket items: that athletes’ village along with media housing and an aquatics complex. The Paris bid book costs those out at over $2 billion.

History says that $2-billion figure would be way low. It’s almost a guarantee, actually.

If there is one thing we have learned in this social media age, it is this:

Even those things that seem certain and stable can unravel, and quickly.

The almost-probable unraveling connected to that athletes’ village — wouldn’t it be fast and furious and the end game hugely uncertain? Consider how quickly the entire Budapest bid came crashing down — just weeks.

Wouldn’t a bet on Paris 2024 be the very same thing that has gotten the IOC into the deep credibility hole from which it is now looking up, seeking a way out?

When it should, by any reasonable measure of risk assessment, be seeking calm? Seeking stability?

As Garcetti also said Tuesday in the LA presentation:  “We believe LA2024 offers the Olympic movement something creative and new — not more of the same. This is an important time for our collective Olympic movement. A time that demands new thinking, new ideas and new solutions.”

The key difference: LA, just as it was in 1984, is privately financed. Surely with considered respect to the mayor, Wasserman said, “Free of government interference,” adding at another point, “The bottom line for everyone is that the bid we delivered to you in February of this year is the Games we will host in the summer of 2024. You can count on it.” Garcetti called it a “no risk, no surprises budget” because there will be no new permanent new venue to build. The all-in number: $5.3 billion, again, privately funded.

What does the reasonable person bargain for? Certainty.

Gene Sykes, the bid’s chief executive officer, noted that LA could have run the risk of building a new village — but opted not to, instead using the existing dorms at UCLA: “It takes a huge risk off the table.”

When risk is thus appropriately managed, then you can start laying out the “something creative and new.”

Wasserman, in Q&A, noting the advantage of not having to worry about construction: “We don’t have to build those facilities that normally take up the time, effort and resources of most bid and [organizing committees] … Our view is, because we will have two things that most [organizers] never have, time and money, to invest in growing those sports in the United States, to growing those sports in California and in Los Angeles … what a great place to start, when we have those seven years to really focus on engaging the youth, to develop sport in a way that, frankly, very few people have ever had the opportunity.”

The mayor, also in Q&A: “We see our legacy not just as a physical legacy. So often, the Olympics are about, what are you going to build? For mayors, it’s about — what part of town are you going to revitalize? Our experience from 1984 is what’s more important is the human legacy. It’s one of the reasons the profitability from the 1984 Olympics has spent $250 million on people and facilities and coaches. So, for instance, in a low-income area of Los Angeles called Compton, two African-American girls named Venus and Serena Williams were exposed to tennis as little girls. Today they’re two of the best tennis players in history. Our vision is to have a human legacy that sports is made free and universal for all youth in Los Angeles — forever."

Ruggiero, in the presentation itself: the chairman and chief executive of The Walt Disney Co., Bob Iger, would chair an innovation the bid is calling a “Sports Ambassador Program.”

It would, she told sports officials, “identify business leaders in California to work with you to maximize commercial opportunities in the United States.”

Let’s see — NBC is the IOC’s most important Olympic partner. Now welcome to the team Disney, which owns ESPN and ABC and (like NBCUniversal) runs a bunch of theme parks and operates signature movie studios.

Oh, and that George Lucas Star Wars museum is due to open literally next door to the LA Memorial Coliseum by 2020. Perhaps on May 4. Get the in-crowd joke: “May the Force be with you.”

If Iger and Disney now, this being April and Denmark, wouldn’t it stand to reason that by or at the next major milestone on this campaign, an all-members assembly at Olympic base camp in Lausanne, Switzerland in July, there would be news of yet more significant Los Angeles and California companies on board?

“Our bid isn’t about money, or ego, or boosting American pride or, frankly, even winning or losing,” Wasserman said during the presentation. “It’s about something much deeper.”

His next words brought forth the Olympic force, the reason all of this matters, or at least it's supposed to:

"It’s about ensuring that our — and your — Olympic dreams remain achievable, as far into the future as possible. To us,” he said, and it is exactly this kind of relevance, rooted in new ideas and creativity, that the Olympic movement needs, not to mention just a little bit of a wink and a nod, “that’s a dream worth sharing.”

Disclosure: If I have spoken to Bob Iger, it has only been in passing. His wife, Willow Bay, is the incoming dean of the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California; she is the current director of the journalism division. I have been on the Annenberg journalism faculty for the past six years.

Like gin and tonic: sports and politics mix it up

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The headlines are rich with stories about how sports and politics mix. This inevitably brings up the old fiction about how, especially in the Olympic scene, the two are supposed to be like church and state — separate and apart. That's a notion from way long ago. From a time when basketball players wore way shorter shorts.

Sports and politics mix all the time. Like gin and tonic. Hot dogs and hamburgers. Back and forth. Whatever.

A gentle reminder that in September 2014, the current International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, in a speech at the Asian Games in South Korea, said that for sure sport and politics mix.

Sport needs to acknowledge its relationship to politics and business, Bach said in that speech. At the same time, he said, the world’s political and corporate elite must be mindful of the autonomy of sports organizations or run the risk of diminishing the positive influence that sport can carry.

“In the past,” Bach went on, “some have said that sport has nothing to do with politics, or they have said that sport has nothing to do with money or business. And this is just an attitude which is wrong and which we can not afford anymore.

“We are living in the middle of society and that means we have to partner up with the politicians who run this world.”

With that in mind, these, please:

A few days back, many track and field friends got so incredibly fired up over the Somali-born British gold medalist Mo Farah, arguably the greatest distance runner of our time, and his widely publicized, Nike-backed freak-out over whether he could get into the United States, when it turned out that a simple call to the British Foreign Office affirmed that of course he could.

Let us all now look forward to the learned observations of Sir Mo on Iran's announced ban on U.S. wrestlers.

Or perhaps it is only his own plight that he cares about?

Nike as well? And what it knows not only about its employees but, if not more important, what market research tells it about the demographics and voting inclinations of its customers?

In a staff email, Mark Parker, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Nike, Inc., said he had been “moved” by the “powerful statement” that “Mo” — first name, as if everyone in corporate fun-world is the best of friends — “shared this morning.”

In that email, Parker went on to say, “Nike stands together against bigotry and any form of discrimination,” adding, “We’ve learned that on the field of play, where fairness and mutual respect are the rule, not the exception.”

That is of course a position to be commended.

Now, Mr. Parker, how far do those words reach?

Nike's business positions extend beyond the United States.

What, then, does Nike plan to do to stand up to the bigotry and discrimination of the Iranian regime? Or is standing up to bigotry and discrimination only a thing when it involves perceptions — that play to corporate image-making — of a certain Republican in the White House?

USA Wrestling statement on the reported Iranian ban:

“If these reports are true, USA Wrestling is extremely disappointed about this, which we believe would be an unacceptable situation. Wrestling is about competition and goodwill through sport, and is no place for politics.”

As for the reported Iranian action, and comparing it with President Trump’s executive order (and, by extension, Mr. Parker’s staff email):

1. Which governmental regime is using sport -- reasonable question: what other leverage does it have -- as retaliation?

2. Iran doesn't have an IOC vote so this means nothing for the Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid.

3. Feel free, at any rate, to ask around IOC precincts about perceptions within the movement about Iran.

4. If you want to rail on Mr. Trump, go right ahead. At least in the United States, presumably you enjoy the right to free speech — that is, unless you’re in, of all places, Berkeley, California, and you have controversial matters on your mind.

At any rate, take a moment to look up all the episodes over the years in which Iranian athletes have not appeared or simply refused to engage with Israeli athletes because the Israelis are Jews and from an official Iranian perspective the Jews are scum and the state of Israel illegitimate -- and when they get back home to Iran from these sickening displays of seeking to delegitimize Israel and dehumanize its competitors, the Iranian athletes are typically welcomed as heroes.

In 2012, amid the London Olympics, the Iranian sports minister noted that “not competing with Zionist athletes is one of the values and sources of pride of the Iranian people and its athletes.”

5. Please read these two relevant paragraphs issued Friday by the Islamic Republic News Agency, referring to a statement from the Iranian foreign ministry:

"Islamic Republic of Iran will appropriately counter any measure threatening the nation’s interests, as it has suspended issuance of visas for the Americans in a tit-for-tat move against the US travel ban for the Iranians.

"The ministry also stressed that the Islamic Republic would not allow the ominous realization of the dangerous plots and delusions of the Zionist warmongers and their supporters."

6. Would it be reasonable to assert that the Iranians do not hold to the position that, when it comes to the Israelis, fairness and mutual respect are the rule on the field of play?

This case is obviously the exception.

Indeed, it flat-out amounts to bigotry and discrimination because the Israelis are Jews.

There is no other reason, no other explanation.

Sir Mo freaked out because of ill-conceived concerns he was going to be banned. The Iranians do not compete against Jews because of reprehensible, indefensible, indeed vile religious hatred as well as slanderous political opposition. The Iranians would seem, absent a reversal, to have actually moved to have banned the American wrestlers from their country.

Which, comparing apples and oranges, is worse?

So — where is the outrage over the Iranian action/s?

More — what is to be done?

They say that advice is worth what you pay for it. This advice is free. So here goes:

Time can work in the most intriguing way.

President Trump’s 90-day immigration-related executive order is due to expire in, oh, late April.

The International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission visit to Los Angeles, in conjunction with the 2024 Summer Games campaign, is scheduled for April 23-25.

If it were me:

I would reach out to the White House and see if Mr. Bach, the IOC president, wanted to enjoy a White House visit with President Trump in, oh, mid to late April. Or if the White House was inconvenient, somewhere where the two leaders could meet. Maybe at the United Nations, which on the campaign last year didn't exactly seem like a Trump thing but is definitely a Bach hangout and is close to Trump Tower, where the new president has said the taco bowls are, you know, the best.

Wait. I hear the screaming from our French friends: "So unfair!"

OK, well, French president François Hollande and Bach got together for a face-to-face meeting in November 2013 in Paris.

And in April 2015 in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC’s base.

And, apples to apples, even during this 2024 campaign, in October 2016 in Paris, where Hollande presented Bach with a flag from the 1924 Paris Games and Bach said the “Paris bid is a very, very strong bid because of the unity and the large support it is sparking off,” adding, “Personally, I’m very impressed by the unity among both the sporting and political worlds.”

So — hope to see you soon in the United States, Mr. IOC President. If you get to the White House, and, a hand towel from the men's room, um, accidentally finds its way into your suit pocket and you leave with it as a memento of your visit, oh darn, we totally will understand. Barbara Walters and Meryl Streep, among others, have maybe collected some White House knickknacks, and Ms. Streep is even a Presidential Medal of Freedom of Winner. Again, Mr. IOC President, hope to see you soon.

Speaking of France:

The Paris 2024 bid on Friday launched the international phase of its campaign by revealing its new slogan, “Made for Sharing,” with co-chair Tony Estanguet saying in a statement that the tagline shows Paris “is a city welcome to ready the world,” adding, “We want to use the Games to break barriers and build bridges of understanding between communities and nations.”

Pause.

You can just hear the dialogue if not the cackling in the focus groups contrasting “bridges,” on the one hand, and “walls,” on the other, right?

Asked if the slogan was a rip on Mr. Trump, the French prime minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, told reporters Friday, “France has this idea of building relationships through the values of respect, fraternity and solidarity...

"It’s a very simple answer."

Uh-huh.

Class: we shall now examine France's colonial years, particularly but not exclusively in North Africa, and let us pay particular attention to the notion of "building relationships through the values of respect, fraternity and solidarity," with special regard to France's many Muslim constituents, and how those relationships continue to play out now, in our time, within France itself or in the way France is perceived within Europe and beyond.

The mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said in the same news release that Paris, “more than any other city, has embraced this culture of sharing and connection.”

Also Friday, French police shot and wounded a man who shouted “Allahu Akbar!” as he attacked them with a machete at the Louvre, the world’s most visited museum. Police sources told the British outlet The Telegraph that the assailant was a 29-year-old Egyptian who had arrived in Paris on January 26 after acquiring a one-month tourist visa in Dubai.

Hollande said, according to the newspaper, that the attack was “clearly an act of terrorism,” the latest that has put France in a  "state of emergency" that has lasted now for nearly two years.

From the U.S. president:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/827499871011819520

Kudos. Applause. Way to be clever and think outside the boundaries, because this is exactly what the Olympic space needs, even if it's in the bid arena: something never, ever done in the 20 years I have been covering Olympic bids, which rigidly stick to the format of bid books and presentations.

Here is LA24 chair Casey Wasserman with part one of a series of "What's Not in the Bid Book!" He promises a look at stuff like best hikes in LA, where to buy cool sneakers -- and says, controversially, that Tito's Tacos, presumably the location in Culver City, California, offers the best tacos in town.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlrRRw0SbmE&feature=share

OK, so not perfect: I mean, what would you expect from someone who went to UCLA?

Advice to Wasserman as he builds his series, since most “in LA” stuff tends to revolve around the Westside, Downtown (which now goes by the trendy moniker ‘DTLA’), trendy spots like Los Feliz and Silver Lake and, of course, surfer and movie star hangout Malibu and the sprawl of the San Fernando Valley.

Check out the Roundhouse Aquarium at the end of the Manhattan Beach pier (free, kids of all ages love it) and the backside of the Palos Verdes peninsula (looks like Italy, locals only because it's way off the freeways).

There’s even a Golf Digest ‘top 100 public course’ way out there on the peninsula backside, with incredible views of the Pacific and Santa Catalina Island some 20 miles southwest of the mainland. The course is breathtakingly beautiful and has been featured in literally dozens of movies, commercials, TV shows and photo shoots.

It's Trump National.

100-days-out memo: oh, right, there's an LA24 bid

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Curious: why, with a Los Angeles bid for the 2024 Summer Games underway, would the U.S. Olympic Committee opt Wednesday to have its 100-days-to-Rio-2016 event in Times Square in New York City? What about that, given the LA24 bid, makes any sense?

First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday in Times Square // Getty Images

1. Times Square, dressed in neon, is unquestionably many things. Like, if you’re lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the Naked Cowboy — big hat, small underwear — picking at his strategically placed guitar and panning for dollars. Wow!

New York? Biggest (and most self-important) city in the United States. So what? LA is No. 2, with a much-richer Olympic history. Also this about New York: big-time 2005 loser for the 2012 Summer Games, which went to London.

On Wednesday evening, as part of the 100-day countdown, the Empire State Building was lit up red, white and blue.

Beijing 2008 gymnastics gold medalist Nastia Liukin on scene as U.S. athletes light the Empire State Building red, white and blue // Getty Images

Which leads to: what is the particular relevance this summer of plans to light up the Freedom Tower, built on the destroyed World Trade Center site, with the Team USA Rio medals count? Even the New York 2012 bid did not play on the 9/11 terror attacks. So what is it? There are tall buildings in New York? Please. Light up the top of the 73-story U.S. Bank Tower in downtown LA. Or Staples Center a few blocks away. Or the Hollywood sign.

2. If you're trying to convey the notion that Times Square is akin to Town Square USA, which is ridiculous in the first instance, how in the world does that promote an LA bid? The plaza at LA Live, which holds Staples and the Microsoft Theater, is plenty big enough, and has proven plenty cool enough for virtually every awards show there is.

3. If the USOC believes New York is all that great, move your entire office there. But no. The USOC manages quite nicely to do the bulk of its business from Colorado Springs, Colorado. So why New York? Bottom line: it would have been just as easy, and way more consistent with the 2024 bid, to stage this 100-days-out event in Los Angeles.

4. If the suggestion is that the event was not just for media and Olympic fans but for sponsors and donors (party Tuesday evening at the Museum of Modern Art for 300 “Team USA supporters”) — uh, sophisticated donors and businesspeople do business, and lots of it, in California. If California was a stand-alone country, it would be the eighth-largest economy in the world as measured by gross domestic (or, the case of California, state) product, immediately behind Brazil, where — oh — the Games will be held in 100 days.

Rhetorical question: wouldn’t it make sense to invite important people to SoCal and showcase not only Rio 2016 but LA24?

As for parties — again, it’s awards season, and more, every week in Los Angeles and Southern California.

Another rhetorical question: so you want, like the IOC and USOC, to find imaginative ways to connect young people with the Games? Music and sport are the two universal languages. The Coachella festival just ran for the past two weekends. Come on.

5. The Paris people had their 100 days out in — Paris. Not Lyon or Marseilles. And not just any old spot in Paris. It was at the Palais de Chaillot at the Trocadero by the Eiffel Tower.

Paris 2024 bid co-president Bernard Lapasset at the 100 days out event // Getty Images

Incidentally, the Paris 2024 team — including the city's first female mayor, Anne Hidalgo — did go earlier this week to Marseilles, to promote the bid. But when it came to 100 days out, it was back in Paris all the way. Just like the USOC should have been Wednesday in LA.

6. The Associated Press story out of Times Square dutifully noted that First Lady Michelle Obama appeared in front of dozens of U.S. athletes, and quoted her as saying she was a “real, lifelong, die-hard Olympics fan.”

For an American audience, that’s perhaps lovely. But in the midst of a spirited bid campaign, who are the target audiences?

If the point was to appeal to a U.S. audience exclusively — why? There’s a bid campaign going on! Kill two birds with the one stone, please.

Not to mention: the Obamas, after their appearance at the IOC session in Copenhagen in 2009 at which Chicago got kicked out of 2016 voting in the first round, are the favorites of few, at best, in the International Olympic Committee.

At any rate, not one word in that AP story about Los Angeles bidding for 2024. Maybe the reporter opted not to include anything. Or maybe it wasn’t a USOC point of emphasis Wednesday that, you know, LA is bidding for the 2024 Olympics, even though — outside of the performance of the team at the Rio Games — the bid is the undeniable No. 1 USOC priority for the next 17 or so months, until the IOC election in September 2017 in Lima, Peru.

As a maybe-not-so-helpful reminder Wednesday of that trip by President Obama and First Lady to Copenhagen, here was Republican front-runner Donald Trump, speaking in Washington at the Center for the National Interest, in a story reported at length by the Chicago Tribune:

"Do you remember when the president made a long, expensive trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, to get the Olympics for our country? And, after this unprecedented effort, it was announced that the United States came in fourth. Fourth place.

"The president of the United States making this trip, unprecedented, comes in fourth place. He should have known the result before making such an embarrassing commitment. We were laughed at all over the world as we have been many, many times. The list of humiliations go on and on and on.”

It’s easy to dismiss Trump’s comments, to assert they bear no relevance to the Times Square event. But maybe they do. If only one IOC voter reads his rant and goes, yep, maybe he’s right, then what? Especially since that Tribune story duly connected Trump’s remarks with Mrs. Obama’s appearance at the Times Square production, quoting the First Lady at length:

"’To this day, I still remember the excitement that I felt as a little girl growing up on the South Side of Chicago when Olympic season would roll around,’ she said, adding how her friends would gather with her to watch the Games on TV. ‘I mean, these times meant the world to kids in neighborhoods all over the country.’” Especially, obviously, Southern California, where there’s an Olympic bid going on.

7. At any rate, compare and contrast the AP story Wednesday out of Paris.

Headline: “Passing Security Test at Euro 2016 Will Help 2024 Paris Bid.”

Sixth paragraph, quoting French Olympic Committee president Denis Masseglia: “‘It's important to prove that our system — to guarantee everybody's security — is the best system, and the [April 3] Paris marathon was a success,’ said Masseglia, who was speaking at an event to mark 100 days until the start of the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.”

8. If the reason the USOC event went down in New York is because it's easier for NBC, the U.S. television rights-holder, that doesn't really make a lot of sense.

NBC has a travel budget; see the social media shots posted Tuesday of longtime Olympic host Bob Costas along with senior executives Jim Bell and Joe Gesue, and others, in Rio. Moreover, NBC has a brand-new newsroom in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, in Universal City (where the main press and broadcast centers would be if LA wins for 2024). Other networks: CBS? Big facility in midtown LA. ESPN? Studio downtown at Staples. Fox? Century City studio.

Wheels up for day of 100 days prep work in Rio #RoadToRio #BobInRio

A photo posted by NBC Olympics (@nbcolympics) on

9. If the thinking was that the other 'important' media are in New York, that is way old school, and not remotely true anymore, a nod to the East Coast bias that regrettably permeates way too much regressive thinking about the way our country works. Plain and simple: Los Angeles and California are the present and, more important, the future. That’s why LA is the 2024 bid.

At the risk of being super-obvious, having this kind of promotional event in New York serves as a profound disconnect from the core message the USOC purportedly is seeking to send the IOC about LA and California as the future of media and technology.

When IOC president Thomas Bach came to the United States earlier this year, his check-the-box visit to LA — in keeping with similar trips he had made to the other three 2024 bid cities, Paris, Rome and Budapest — provided necessary cover to meet with Google, Facebook, Twitter and other California-based technology executives. At the SportAccord convention last week in Switzerland, who served as key presenters at the so-called “Digital Summit”? Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Venice, California-based Snapchat.

Why give even one IOC member any opportunity to think the institution can count on the full support of those companies, along with others up and down California, if LA doesn’t win?

10. You want a disconnect? One of the promoted features of the Times Square event involved the unveiling of 47 full-sized surfboards, one for each Team USA sponsor, that had been individually decorated and turned into what a USOC release called a “piece of customized art.”

Everyone knows that surfing and Times Square go together like pickles and maple syrup.

If you want to buy tickets to “Les Miserables,” cool, see you at TKTS at Times Square. But surfing? See ya at Zuma, dude.

Further, as the USOC pointed out, three extra surfboards — an Olympic, Paralympic and Team USA board, bringing the total to 50 — were designed by Hurley. The company traces its roots to the Southern California surf industry in the 1970s. Maybe that’s because it’s based in Costa Mesa, California.

A photo posted by NBC Olympics (@nbcolympics) on

Let’s not forget that the USOC is the institution that a year and a half ago couldn’t figure out that it should have gone to Los Angeles in the first instance, not Boston.

Memo to the USOC: there is a 2024 campaign going on, and LA is your candidate. Why make this even the least bit difficult  when some things should be so easy?

Five for 2024 -- how many make it to 2017?

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The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday celebrated the announcement that five cities are now formally in the race for the 2024 Summer Games: Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, Budapest and Hamburg, Germany.

After the debacle that was the 2022 Winter Games race, which ended up with only two finalists, Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, Beijing in July elected the winner, you can see why this list of 2024 possibilities would be cause for IOC festivity.

"We can really look at the very diverse and creative field," IOC president Thomas Bach said in a Wednesday teleconference with reporters, "and we are looking forward to a fascinating and fair competition among these five outstanding and highly qualified candidate cities."

At another moment in the call, Bach said, "This competition is about quality, not quantity. What we see are five really highly qualified candidate cities. This is why we welcome really each and every one of these cities to this competition, which will be a very, very strong and fascinating one."

But wait. If "fascinating" is the word of the moment:

A view last month of the LA Memorial Coliseum // Getty Images

A view earlier this year of the Stade de France // Getty Images

Would anyone be surprised, really, if as soon as six months from now, this 2024 race is already down to three?

Or, when it comes to legitimate contenders, practically speaking, two?

That’s the first thing to keep in focus as Campaign 2024 gets underway.

For all the talk about Agenda 2020, the 40-point would-be reform plan the IOC approved last December, there’s a more than reasonable chance the IOC could find itself right back in a 2022-like situation.

This, even though the IOC announced last month, as an obvious result of the 2022 process, that it would no longer be trimming a bigger list of “applicant,” or first-stage, cities, to a shortlist of “candidate” cities, or finalists. That cut used to come about halfway through the roughly two-year bid cycle. Now, from the start, everyone will be a finalist, a "candidate," as Bach noted Wednesday. The reason: the IOC gets a bigger field of cities.

If, that is, they can stay viable.

Big-picture, 2024:

Search the globe for the cities that ultimately decided not to bid.

Toronto, which this summer staged the Pan Am Games? Nope. Too much money, not enough political support, the mayor announced.

Durban, Cape Town or Johannesburg, South Africa? Not ready for prime time.

Baku, site earlier this year of the European Games? Ditto.

Doha? Which ran for 2016 and 2020? Not this time. Politics. Bach noted without further comment that Doha "obviously decided not to take part in this invitation phase."

What's obvious is that it is far easier for Bach -- 2024 is his first Summer Games bid cycle as IOC president -- without Baku or Doha.

So that leaves, for now, five.

Hamburg, though, is facing a November referendum. No one can muster any degree of confidence that voters will give it the go-ahead to keep on until the IOC decides the 2024 race, in September 2017; the $51-billion figure associated with the 2014 Sochi Games scared numerous western European cities out of the 2022 race.

As Bach noted without comment on Hamburg itself, the IOC is interested in a "culture of welcome," a city where "the population is clearly supporting the Olympic Games and is welcoming the athletes."

Rome bid for the 2020 Games, for a short while, until the national government said, uh, wait, this Olympic thing costs entirely too much. Now Rome is back. With a campaign budget, announced last month, of 10 million euros, about $11 million. That is laughably low. Paris is figuring about 60 million euros, $63 million, and that’s probably not enough.

Budapest? Great city. Fantastic to visit. Not a realistic chance of winning, and indeed this 2024 effort might well be seen as a trial run for 2028 or beyond. It states the obvious to note that the migrant crisis enveloping Hungary, and for that matter a great deal of Europe, with seemingly no solution in sight, has made Budapest’s already dim chance for victory that much more remote.

How the migrant crisis affects Hamburg, if it gets past the referendum, as well as Rome? No one knows.

"This humanitarian challenge is going beyond Olympic candidatures," Bach said. "While we speak, political leaders in Europe and in the world are discussing how to address this great humanitarian challenge. I hope they will come together to a solution which in the end does not only address this challenge with a solution for this very moment but that, together, they are looking to a solution which allows these refugees to live at home in peace and prosperity. I think this is the real challenge."

With all that, and this is hardly a secret in select Olympic circles, that leaves Paris and LA.

It is fact that the Summer Games have never been away from Europe for more than 12 years. The most recent Olympics in Europe? 2012, London. The 2016 Games will be in Rio de Janeiro, 2020 in Tokyo.

Does that suggest Paris will be the slam-dunk winner?

It might be logical enough, indeed, except for what is really the central point about 2024 to keep in sight:

This race is, from the get-go, all about the United States.

Though the IOC will go to Asia for three straight Games after Rio -- Pyeongchang 2018, Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 -- there are no 2024 Asian bids. Over the next two years, expect many, many reports -- they started already Wednesday -- about how this is actually Europe versus the United States: that is, LA against the other four.

That is not it.

This 2024 race is, plain and simple, a referendum on the state of the United States within the International Olympic Committee.

By 2024, it will have been 28 years since the Summer Games were staged in the United States — in Atlanta, in 1996 — and 22 years since the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

The IOC doesn't subscribe to a rigid rotation. At least in theory. In practice, it's apparent the United States is due. Overdue, actually.

Plus, there is the simple matter of NBC’s $7.65 billion investment in the Games, from 2021 through 2032. To be clear: the network does not get into the bid game. But it's also the case that at appropriate moments the IOC acknowledges the American contribution to the Eurocentric movement.

New York lost in 2005 for 2012. Chicago lost in 2009 for 2016. If Los Angeles loses in 2017 for 2024, the IOC will have burned through the three biggest cities in the United States.

Boston is not going to bid again, perhaps ever, and certainly not in any of our lifetimes. San Francisco can’t win; if it could, you can be sure San Francisco would be the 2024 entry. Washington is often perceived, right or wrong, as the seat of American imperial power; no way.

That would leave the likes of Dallas or Houston. Or joke bids such as Tulsa, Oklahoma. Again, not a chance.

If Paris doesn’t win for 2024, it can — and will — bid again.

Forget about Paris winning in 2024 as solely a way-back machine shout-out to the 1924 Paris Games. That actually might well be a point against Paris, which becomes super-evident if thought about for more than a second. If the IOC starts awarding Games because it’s the 100th anniversary of this or that, no other city in whatever race would stand a chance against the 100th anniversary candidate from Country X.

That 100th anniversary thing? Didn’t work for Athens for 1996. See Atlanta.

If LA does not win for 2024, there is no certainty of any sort the U.S. Olympic Committee would have the will, or be able to summon the cash, for another run.

So it’s Los Angeles, right?

Except: if LA puts forward a compelling case, you can be sure Paris will, too.

Even at the outset, however, it’s apparent both face intriguing challenges.

The Paris bid? Tony Estanguet, the triple gold medalist in canoeing who is an IOC member, is the newly anointed Paris 2024 co-president, along with Bernard Lapasset, the chairman of World Rugby. Etienne Thobois, the bid's chief executive, said Tuesday, apparently in a reference to the failed Paris 2012 and Annecy 2018 bids, “Politicians should not lead an Olympic bid and that’s a lesson to [be] learned.”

OK.

So who, now, is in charge of this Paris campaign? Estanguet? Lapasset? Thobois? The French Olympic Committee? Or, despite protestations that this is really a sports-led bid, is it the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo? The president of France, Francois Hollande?

In June, when the bid was declared, Hollande issued this statement: “The state will do everything to see this sports movement through and to support this bid, which will serve as a model in terms of the environment, economy and social protections.”

Hmm.

Further, with all due respect to the longstanding Olympic consultant Mike Lee and his London-based Verocom agency, how is it that the Paris announcement Tuesday came from Verocom instead of, from, you know, Paris?

As for LA?

The facile thing would be to go round and round about whether LA got put forward as a second choice.

LA is not a second choice. Instead, LA is the product of the Agenda 2020 reforms, which allows a national Olympic committee to figure stuff out before the formal submission date to the IOC, which in this instance was Tuesday. That's the "invitation phase" Bach was talking about.

The three real issues facing the LA bid, at least at this early juncture, are easy:

— One, the Olympic Village plan is not locked down.

Expect a lot of chatter about how it is going to cost a lot of money: $1 billion, according to the bid book.

That’s going to be, in large measure, third-party money, $925 million of it; the developer is not yet identified.

Are these problems?

Hardly. That's the sort of opportunity a shrewd business person would like to have.

The rules of the journalism business preclude us jackals of the press from getting in on the deals we report on. That’s an obvious conflict of interest. It’s also the case that journalists do not often make good business people. Nevertheless: you’d have to be an idiot not to see the extraordinary upside in a deal for new housing in housing-starved downtown LA, which even the New York Times has this year anointed the cool capital of the very people the IOC is so eager to attract, the younger-shading demographic.

Meanwhile, the IOC announced Wednesday it will contribute $1.7 billion to the winning 2024 committee for the organization of the Games. The LA bid had forecast $1.5 billion, the level of the IOC contribution to the Rio 2016 Games.

So the LA bid is already -- without doing a thing -- ahead on the organizing committee ledger by $200 million.

Bach said any of the five 2024 efforts "can be very confident" to "have a profit in their organizing budget."

 — Two, Bach has in the two years he has been IOC president visited roughly 100 heads of government or state. President Obama? A noteworthy no.

Within the IOC, Obama is remembered for a logistics-bending visit to the 2009 assembly in Copenhagen at which Chicago got booted, and his decision to politicize the U.S. delegation to the 2014 Sochi Games opening ceremony as a response to the Russian law banning gay “propaganda” to minors — selecting the tennis star Billie Jean King and two other openly gay athletes for the U.S. effort. (King ultimately made it to the closing ceremony; she was unable to attend the opening ceremony because of her mother’s death.)

Next month the Assn. of National Olympic Committees meets in Washington. This marks a major event on the Olympic calendar. It's unclear if the occasion will see Obama meet with Bach.

This, though, is clear: there will be a new U.S. president in January 2017, eight months before the 2024 IOC election.

— Three, Anita DeFrantz lives in Los Angeles. She, like her colleague Claudia Bokel from Germany, serves on the IOC’s 15-person, policy-making executive board.

It’s a clear conflict of interest for both to be involved in 2024, the kind of point the Agenda 2020 reforms should have addressed but don’t.

Bach, who is German, has made it expressly clear he will be studiously neutral in regard to Hamburg.

It’s thus straightforward logic that DeFrantz and Bokel ought to be made neutral as well.

At the same time, it’s unrealistic to expect that DeFrantz, and her wealth of experience — she has been an IOC member since the mid-1980s and is herself a bronze medalist, in rowing at the Montreal 1976 Games — ought to be sidelined completely.

Same for Bokel, a fencing silver medalist at the Athens 2004 Games and since 2012 chair of the IOC’s athletes’ commission.

For DeFrantz, who for more than two decades oversaw what is now called the LA84 Foundation, awarding millions in grants for youth sports in Southern California, the answer is simple: the creation of another legacy institution, patterned perhaps after World Sport Chicago, that she can chair or otherwise serve in a significant capacity. It can — should — be nationwide. That means she could — should — be freed to extol the virtues of the Olympic movement throughout the United States.

What to do about Bokel? That’s a Germany problem. If Hamburg sticks around that long.