News came from the International Olympic Committee that the 2024 Olympic games would be awarded to Paris, not Los Angeles. In doing so, the IOC clearly showed its preference for the country that elected Emmanuel Macron to preside over the games, instead of the one that chose Donald Trump, despite a strong bid by L.A. and the city’s history in hosting successful games.
On paper, the City of Angels had the stronger bid than the City of Lights. Los Angeles had hosted two successful Olympic Games: 1932 and 1984. In fact, unlike so many recent financial failures, cost overruns, abandoned facilities and inadequate venues, the California city demonstrated that it is a perfect site for the 2024 Olympics.
“Los Angeles, however, is almost a model Olympic city,” wrote Travis Waldron on HuffPost. “It turned a small profit in 1984, and even Olympic skeptics have said that the city’s bid is financially sound and unlikely to lead to the kind of massive cost overruns that so many other hosts have experienced.”
Paris, meanwhile, has not hosted an Olympic Games since 1924. It had lost out on several earlier Olympic bids, and was beginning to look like a persistent “also-ran” or “frequent candidate” in the race to host the international games.
Yet Macron is the one flashing the thumbs up, while Trump, who tweeted about his work to land the 2024 Olympics, isn’t. And their politics may have a lot to do with that.
As Adam Taylor with The Washington Post noted, Macron touted his country’s values at the Olympic meeting in Lausanne, something Trump skipped. “We need multilateralism, the structures that provide agreement among nations…and tolerance, which the Olympic movement illustrates well,” the French President said. “Olympic values are our values.” If he’s reelected, he’ll play the host to the 2024 Olympic Games.
As Michael Bastasch with The Daily Caller added, “Macron is determined to bring the games to a country that embodies ‘openness, tolerance and respect for the environment,’” an open reference to his country’s support for the Paris Agreement, something President Trump openly rejected, claiming he was dedicated to protecting Pittsburgh, and not Paris.
Trump’s verbal attacks on Mexico and his decision to build the wall and put travel bans on several countries, is unpopular worldwide, and even in America as well. He has clashed with many world leaders, even backing Macron’s ultranationalistic rival. His “America First,” slogan might play well in Ocala, Florida, might not in the Olympic Committee, which likely cringed at the prospect of a Trump in his last year in office (if reelected) giving a long speech similar to the Boy Scout lecture in July.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti seemed to understand the importance of international cooperation in his city’s bid to host the Olympics. As Taylor with the Washington Post reported “Garcetti stressed that the city aims to make the games economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. The mayor vowed to protect Los Angeles taxpayers’ money and to use the event as a way to create long-lasting access to sports for children throughout the city.” And Garcetti noted his city’s support for the Paris Climate Agreement. As a result, L.A. was awarded the 2028 Olympics, much earlier than many such bids are usually given.
It seems as though the IOC really wanted the Olympics to return to Los Angeles as soon as possible, on the anniversary of the highly successful 2024 games. But they couldn’t swallow the specter of Trump calling for the crowd to boo domestic rivals, bragging about this big electoral win, and making inappropriate references or nationalistic appeals.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.