As International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and the Executive Board gathered in the Peruvian capital, Lima on Monday, there was no mystery about which cities would host the two Summer Olympics that follow Tokyo in 2020.
As part of a deal brokered by the IOC back in July, Paris is to host the 2024 Games, while Los Angeles is to get its turn four years later. The decision is to be made official in a vote to be held during the IOC session on Wednesday.
This bidding process has been notable for the number of cities that launched bids – only to later withdraw. Hamburg, Rome, Budapest and Boston all dropped out of the running, reflecting the difficulty of convincing voters that staging the Olympics is worth the millions it costs to do so. The deal to award the two events simultaneously came amid speculation that the IOC was worried that whichever of the two remaining bidders lost the 2024 Games may not have bid for the Olympics four years later.
However, as he arrived in Lima last Thursday, Bach was keen to put a positive spin on the unprecedented move.
"It's a very special, it can be a historic decision," he said. "There are two great cities. Allocating the Olympic Games is not about quantity, it's about quality. It's finding the best possible host for the best athletes of the world."
However, he and the other delegates are bound to spend much of the next few days talking about things they would prefer not to have to discuss – such as the latest corruption allegations to hit the IOC.
Last Tuesday, police detained the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, Carlos Alberto Nuzman, for questioning over allegations that he attempted to bribe IOC members into awarding Rio de Janeiro the 2016 Games at a 2009 vote in Copenhagen. His passport was confiscated and a search of his house is reported to have turned up around $150,000 (€125,000) worth in cash in various currencies.
Not only that, but on Sunday, Ireland's former Olympic Council president, Pat Hickey, resigned from the IOC's Executive Board over his involvement in a ticket-selling scandal at last year's Rio Games.
Hickey, 72, was arrested by Brazilian police during the Games, but was eventually released on bail. He was charged over his alleged involvement in a scheme to sell tickets for events illegally, but he has denied any wrongdoing. He is expected to stand trial later this year.
Reports pending on Russian doping allegations
Meanwhile, the IOC has two commissions dealing with allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia.
Bach said he hoped that results would be available "as soon as possible" and that possible sanctions could be imposed by the individual sports federations as soon as October. Prior to the Rio Games, the IOC decided against imposing a blanket ban on Russian athletes, something that it was widely criticized for.
No plan B for the Winter Games
At the same time there are growing concerns about the security of athletes and delegates during the next year's Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea
ch is just 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border with North Korea – which is at loggerheads with the international community over its recent nuclear test and a series of ballistic missile tests. However, IOC Executive Committee member Gian Franco Kaspar has said there are not plans to move the Games at short notice.
"In the IOC and in the executive committee, no plan B has been discussed so far," Kasper told the SID news agency.
"In personal conversations, it is certainly a topic and I have read that Sochi or Munich come into play, but I think it would be wrong now to arrange a plan B."
pfd/ (dpa, SID, Reuters, AFP)