Los Angeles, Paris contenders to host 2024 Olympics

Even though the 2024 Summer Olympics are still seven years away, the International Olympic Committee is in the process of visiting the two finalists to host the Games: Los Angeles and Paris.

This week, the IOC is spending three days in California's largest city, scrutinizing L.A.'s proposals and visiting proposed sports venues. Next week, the Committee will do the same in France's capital city.

Both Paris and Los Angeles have each hosted the Summer Olympics twice in the past.

Paris welcomed Olympic athletes in 1900 and 1924. The 1900 Games did not have wrestling on the sports roster. At the 1924 Paris Olympics, wrestling took place at the Paris Velodrome D'Hiver, a 10,800-seat facility which also served as the venue for boxing, fencing, weightlifting, and, yes, cycling.

In its proposal for the 2024 Olympics, Paris plans to have wrestling at Bercy Arena II, an 8,000-seat venue which will also host some preliminary basketball games as well.

Los Angeles also hopes to welcome the Olympics for a third time, having hosted the event in 1932 and 1984.

The 1932 Olympics were notable for being the first to have Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and an Athletes' Village for male competitors. (The few women to compete in 1932 were put up in a hotel.) The wrestling venue in 1932 was the Grand Olympic Auditorium, a 15,300-seat hall built in 1924, which also played host for boxing and weightlifting.

At the 1984 Olympics, wrestling events were held in an arena at the Anaheim Convention Center in suburban Anaheim, home to Disneyland. The venue's website touts a seating capacity of 7,500 in the arena.

A mockup of what the wrestling venue (Pauley Pavilion) could look like at the 2024 Olympics

For the 2024 Olympics, Los Angeles proposes that Pauley Pavilion -- home to UCLA's basketball program -- will be the venue for wrestling events. The arena, built in 1965 but substantially upgraded in 2012, has approximately 13,800 permanent seats. The wrestling venue would be very convenient for mat athletes, as Olympic athletes will be housed on the UCLA campus.

The seating capacities for the proposed wrestling venues for the 2024 Olympics are comparable to those from recent Summer Games. For example, the Carioca Arena 2 -- purpose-built for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro -- had a seating capacity of 10,000.

While Los Angeles and Paris are putting their best foot forward for IOC visitors in the coming days, the two cities will have to wait a few months longer to learn which city will be the site of the 2014 Olympics. IOC will announce its decision later this summer.

It's possible that both cities may come out winners.

The Los Angeles Times reported the IOC sending strong indications that it could name two winners, giving 2024 to one city and 2028 to the other, adding that "the race is considered neck-and-neck at this point, with Paris as a sentimental favorite and L.A. as -- perhaps -- a more fiscally reasonable option."

Originally, there were five cities vying to host the 2024 Olympics. In addition to Los Angeles and Paris, other cities in the running were Budapest, Hungary; Hamburg, Germany; and Rome, Italy.


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