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IPC, Discovery hail Olympic Games pact

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has welcomed the agreement that is set to see Paris host the 2024 summer Paralympic Games and Los Angeles the 2028 edition of its showpiece event, stating it represents a major opportunity to make a “breakthrough” in the underserved US market.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday (Monday) reached an outline host city agreement with the Los Angeles bid committee that will allow the US city to host the 2028 Olympics and leave the path clear for the 2024 Games to take place in Paris.

The agreement between the Los Angeles bid committee and the IOC is expected to be given the green light by the Los Angeles City Council and the US Olympic Committee board of directors later this month. The IOC is then expected to ratify the tripartite agreement between the IOC, Los Angeles and Paris at its session in Lima, Peru, which takes place from September 13-17.

The Paralympic Games are traditionally staged in the same host city as the Olympics and the IPC had faced the situation of not having a say in the destinations if a traditional voting process had taken place. 

Traditionally, the IPC president casts one vote on behalf of the global governing body as a member of the IOC. However, the future leadership of the IPC is uncertain, with the organisation to host a presidential election on September 8, just days before the Olympic and Paralympic Games vote was due to take place on September 13 in Lima. 

Canada’s Patrick Jarvis, Andrew Parsons of Brazil, Denmark’s John Petersson and Haidi Zhang from China are currently in the running to replace Sir Philip Craven, who has led the IPC since 2001. Although the victorious candidate will take on the top job at the IPC, they will not immediately or automatically become a member of the IOC and have the right to vote.

Commenting on yesterday’s news, Craven said: “From the outset, the IPC has been greatly impressed by the desire and hunger of both Los Angeles and Paris to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.  Both cities have been in close liaison with the IPC throughout the last 18 months in order to develop and improve the Paralympic aspects of their respective bids.

“Throughout the bid process, Paris 2024 has displayed a strong vision to stage the most successful Paralympic Games in history and use the event to serve as a catalyst for social transformation and the development of stronger foundations for Paralympic sport. The Paris 2024 Games also promise a 100 per cent accessible eco-village, a compact Paralympic venue plan and the development of France’s first Paralympic youth training centre.

“Although there are still more than 11 years to go until Los Angeles 2028, there is not a moment to waste to ensure that these Games are finally the ones where the Paralympic Movement makes a breakthrough in the USA.

“Compared to many other countries around the world, visibility and awareness of the Paralympic Movement is still fairly limited in the USA.  The Los Angeles 2028 Games are a tremendous opportunity to change this once and for all, enriching the lives of millions of US citizens with an impairment through top class Para sport.

“The IPC applaud the IOC’s decision to make contributions to the Los Angeles Organising Committee of an overall estimated value of $1.8bn in view of the longer planning period.  The sooner we can get started on cracking the USA, the better it is for the Paralympic Movement.”

The news that Paris is all-but certain to host the 2024 Games has also been hailed by Discovery Communications, the international sports and entertainment company that operates international sports broadcaster Eurosport, which is particularly prominent in Europe. Discovery has media rights across Europe for the Games, starting with the 2018 winter Games in Pyeongchang and running until 2024.

Discovery Communications president and chief executive, David Zaslav, said: “We are especially thrilled that the 2024 Olympic Games will likely return to Europe, allowing Eurosport to accelerate its efforts to engage new and younger audiences across the continent with the world’s greatest sporting event, as we deliver against our commitment to create the first digital Olympic Games across Europe and utilise all screens to deliver every minute of the action. 

“When Discovery Communications secured the rights across Europe for the Olympic Games from 2018-2024, we did so with tremendous passion, commitment and ambition, irrespective of the location of the Games, but the proposed 2024 Olympic Games in Europe is also a huge win for hundreds of millions of people and thousands of athletes across Europe, as well as advertisers and distribution partners, all of whom will benefit from an Olympic Games on home soil.”