World Urban Games

Budapest rocks: its big win for the World Urban Games

Budapest rocks: its big win for the World Urban Games

Roughly 18 months ago the International Olympic Committee made a historical double allocation for the Summer Games, Paris for 2024, Los Angeles getting 2028. 

LA and Paris were the last two left in what had originally been a race only for 2024. Budapest withdrew earlier in 2017 amid local political complexities, clearing the way for the IOC’s 2024/2028 double-double, and ever since those in the know have wondered, because Budapest rocks: what if? 

On Monday, it was announced that the 2019 World Urban Games, which last fall were said to be going to Los Angeles, would instead be held in — Budapest. When? September 13-15. GAISF, the umbrella organization that represents international sports federations, said Budapest had also been offered the 2021 edition of the Urban Games, touting “both the city’s enthusiasm and its readiness and capability.”  

The project is likely to feature 3x3 basketball and BMX freestyle, both of which will be on the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games program, as well as breakdancing, the hit of the 2018 Youth Games in Buenos Aires that probably will be featured at Paris 2024, along with a full program of music, art and street-inspired culture.

Monday’s announcement resolves a drama that for months has been playing out behind the scenes. Big picture, first and foremost, it must be understood for what it is, a huge victory — another, that is — for Budapest, for Hungary and for Balázs Fürjes, state secretary for the development of Budapest and major sports events. He resolutely continued to press the case on behalf of his city and nation. Now all three — him, city, country — are big winners. OK, for emphasis, because it’s appropriate: really big winners.