Budapest is set to withdraw its bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, leaving Los Angeles and Paris as the final two candidates to host the international sporting event, Los Angeles NPR affiliate KPCC reports.
Hungarian officials said in a statement that their bid was undermined by an opposition group that did not want to host the Games. The Hungarian Olympic Committee must file an official notification to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make the bid withdrawal official.
“When the opposition attacked the Budapest bid in the back, it disrupted this unity (of support for the bid) and minimalized the chances of the capital city,” Hungarian Parliament leader Lajos Kosa said in a statement received by the Associated Press. “Today only one responsible decision is possible to avoid Hungary’s loss of international prestige.”
Budapest’s withdrawal comes on the heels of several cities around the globe pulling out of plans to pursue the Olympics. Some feared spiraling costs and that Olympics venues would not be used after the two-week extravaganza has concluded.
Cities that have pulled out include Rome, Hamburg, and Boston. Boston’s abandonment allowed Los Angeles to enter a bid as a substitute.
The Olympic hangover that other cities fear has already hit last year’s Olympic host city, Rio De Janeiro. Just six months after the conclusion of the 2016 Games, pictures have surfaced of Olympic venues in the Brazilian capital falling into disrepair as the country deals with a historic recession. Brazil’s economic struggle is partly blamed on the Olympics, as event organizers still owe creditors nearly $40 million.
Los Angeles’ last Olympics in 1984 is considered one of the most profitable in the history of the Games, thanks in large part to chief organizer Peter Ueberroth’s aggressive recruiting of sponsors to finance the event. A potential 2024 Olympics would also be free of the white-elephant venues that have plagued recent hosts like Athens and Rio, as the city could re-purpose already existing venues like the Staples Center and L.A. Coliseum, along with the soon-to-be completed NFL stadium in Inglewood. Paris is also planning a similar bid that will minimize permanent venue construction.
But some fear that President Donald Trump’s recent travel ban against seven predominantly Muslim countries may cause IOC officials to sour on the idea of hosting an Olympics in the United States. The Los Angeles Times reports that L.A. bid organizers have been told by IOC members that they are opposed to Trump’s stances on immigration and international trade, and that might play a factor in the final voting.
Some U.S. athletes also think that L.A.’s hopes of hosting the Games died on election night.
“A travel ban would make it very difficult for the IOC to vote for the U.S.,” long jump gold medalist Jeff Henderson told The Independent. “We all know Trump as he is. I didn’t vote for him and it confuses me that people did.”
IOC officials will visit Los Angeles to receive the official bid proposal on April 23 before traveling to Paris in mid-May. The IOC will then make their official decision between the City of Angels and the City of Lights on Sept. 13.