BERLIN (Reuters) - European Athletics threw its weight behind the Paris 2024 Olympics bid, saying on Wednesday the French capital was the best possible candidacy for the Games’ showcase sport.
Paris will host the 2020 European athletics championships, and athletics pulls the biggest crowds during the Games. But the sport has been hit by ongoing doping and corruption scandals.
Paris is bidding along with Los Angeles for the 2024 Olympics with the International Olympic Committee set to select the winning candidacy in September.
The IOC could also decide to award the 2028 Games to the city that loses out on 2024 at the same election in Peru later this year.
“It is not just a question of Paris being the sole European candidate and the fact that continental sports organisations should back each other in this respect,” said European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen in a statement.
“European Athletics has looked at both bids and we believe that Paris is the best from an overall perspective and specifically with regards to our sport,” he said.
“Paris excels in its technical facets relating to how it will host the various sports, although our interest is based on the fact that if it wins, athletics will be the focal point of the Games.”
His support does not come as a surprise. European Athletics awarded the continental championships for 2020 to Paris only days ago.
Paris still needs to build an athletes’ village and an aquatics centre. The Los Angeles bid promotes the privately-funded project as “risk-free” with no major construction needed.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Larry King